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A Negative View of Christianity and Religion in General
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Dear friends, Christ is Risen!

I have enjoyed a much needed break, but I could not fully forget about the blog and a few current events. Many of you have asked me for my reaction to the meeting between Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis but at the time I decided not to comment about it. The time just did not feel right and I was not ready for it. However, during this break my mind naturally returned to spiritual matters and I decided that it was now or never, if I did not tackle the spiritual issues surrounding this meeting, I would never have the time or energy to do that later. So I wrote the article below. You will see that it does not really focus on this meeting at all, being as it is, just the small tip of a much bigger iceberg. I decided to tackle if not the entire iceberg, then at least a good chunk of it. I hope that at least some of you will find some merit in this. To the others I will just say not to worry. This is probably a one-off exercise and the blog will now return to its normal topics.

Hugs and cheers,

The Saker

A negative view of Christianity and religion in general

We live in a post-Christian society, not only because truly religious Christians are now a small minority, but also because culturally and spiritually our society has almost completely severed any links it once had with the original Christianity of the early Church. One of my favorite quotes of all time is “God created man in His image and man returned Him the favor“. This aphorism is so good that it was attributed to Mark Twain, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russel, Frank Wedekind and Voltaire. I think that this sentence contains the best overall summary of what Christianity is in the 21st century. What I want to do today, is to express a few negative views about Christianity and about religion in general. When I say “negative”, I don’t mean to say bad things about it, but rather to say what it is *not*. Believe it or not, this is an ancient form of theological discourse called “apophatic” or “negative theology” (as opposed to “cataphatic” or “positive theology”) – a theology which rather than describing what God is, attempts to describe Him by saying what He is not. What I want to do is to apply the same methodology to the concept of religion in general and to Christianity in particular, and describe what it is not. I won’t go into lofty and abstract theological issues though, but keep is as simple and straightforward as I can.

Of course, by stating what it is not, I do imply that what Christianity was/is is something objective and not just the product of a social consensus or the opinion of a majority of people, but something which can be described, but not redefined or shaped by an opinion. In other words, there was/is a “True Christianity” which is “true” in the Slavonic understanding of the word Istina or the Hebrew Emet (see here for an explanation of “truth according to content”). However, it is not my purpose today to describe in positively, if only because that is something infinitely more complex and subtle than to describe what it is *not*.

The three “levels of religious satisfaction”

One of the greatest Orthodox theologians of the 20th century, Father Lev Lebedev, used to say that people find three kind of “satisfactions” when they go to church: a spiritual level, an psychological level and an emotional level. What he meant is that different people attend religious services for different reasons – some seek a prayerful interaction with God, others find solace from their suffering while others feel uplifted by the aesthetic beauty of the religious ceremony itself. Father Lev correctly stated that ideally one ought to experience all of these different levels at the same time because they are complementary and not mutually exclusive. Father Lev was describing what he observed as a cleric of the Orthodox Church in Russia in the 1980s and 1990s and I think that this somewhat limited his view of the matter. What I would like to attempt now is to describe other reasons which make people identify themselves as Christians/Orthodox and which have absolutely nothing to do with real religion, Christianity or Orthodoxy.

Religions as basis for ethical values

A lot of people nowadays generally approve of the so-called “Christian values” which are basically the Ten Commandments and the various ethical guidelines derived from them: not to steal, not to lie, to be kind to others, to be truthful, to live a life of modesty, to be faithful, etc. These are the folks who will say that religion plays a positive moral and educational role in society, that a non-religious society will inevitably lose a sense of right and wrong, that high ideals are needed to live a worthy life. The “need” for that kind of religion is simple: as Dostoevsky said “if there is no God all is permissible” – there is simply no logical way to define “right” and “wrong” unless you can “peg” these concepts to an absolute, transcendental source/origin of your definition. Stealing is not logically inherently bad – it is bad because “God said so”. I think of this as the “utilitarian God”: we invent ourselves a “God” who just so happens to tell us to live according to the principles we like. You think I am exaggerating? Okay, let me give you a simple example: think of all the folks who condemn Islam for allowing the death penalty for certain actions and who say “how can a religion practice capital punishment? This is so inhuman – I don’t accept that”. Notice that these people never ask themselves a simple and basic question: what if God happens to approve of the death penalty? That, they don’t care about. These people don’t reject Islam because they don’t believe that there is a God or because they don’t believe that Mohamed is His prophet – they reject Islam because they don’t like what Islam teaches, irrespective of the existence of God or whether Mohamed was, or was not, His prophet. These are the same kind of folks who reject Latin Christianity for not allowing divorce or birth control: they simply reject any religion whose teachings do not coincide with their own – and to hell (pun intended) with any objective reality. These are exactly the kind of people who “create” themselves a “God” in their own image.

Religion as a form of national self-definition

Do you know the difference between a Serb, a Croat and a “Bosniac” (i.e, a Muslim from Bosnia)? Their religion. That is not to say that there are no other differences between these south Slavs or that you cannot be a Serb, a Croat or a “Bosniac” and an atheist or, say, a Buddhist. But the root cause, the core of the historical development of differences between these three groups most definitely originates in the fact that Croats are Latins (i.e, “Roman Catholics”), the Serbs Orthodox Christians and the “Bosniacs” Muslims.

Remember that nationalism is really a 19th century West European invention and that in most of mankind’s history people defined themselves according to their place of birth (in a local sense, village, town), according to their allegiance to a leader (Emperor, feudal lord, tribal leader, etc.) and, sometimes, according to their religion. For example, the Ottoman Empire recognized the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople as the “head of the Roman nation” (rum millet) or “millet bashi” as an ethnarch whose authority extended over all the Orthodox Christians of the Ottoman Empire regardless of their ethnic or linguistic affiliations. You could be Armenian, Persian, Arab or Serb – if you were Orthodox the “millet bashi” spoke for you and was your leader.

As for the much-suffering Gagauz people (Turkic Orthodox Christians), they were originally considered as “Greeks” by the Turks only to be thought of as “Turks” by many Greeks in the 19th century.

Another example: in the Russian Empire, Karaites were not considered as Jews. In fact, the Russian Empire never discriminated between people on the basis of what we today would call their “ethnicity” but defined their “nationality” on the basis of their religion. In fact, many Russian Czars were mostly of German “ethnic” stock.

Today Empires are gone, but from Ulster, to Bosnia and even to Russia, religion has now become a form of national identity: “I am Orthodox because I am Russian” or “I am a Muslim because I am a Kazakh”. My personal reaction to this kind of “religious patriotism” is that these people really worship themselves. Think of it: any real religion should, in theory, be universalistic: if we are all the creatures of the same Creator and children of the same Father, then we are all brothers and sisters and our ethnic, cultural, linguistic or regional idiosyncrasies should be completely irrelevant to the profound spiritual bond attaching us all to each other.

This is exactly what Malcolm X saw after his pilgrimage to Mecca where traditional Islam made him abandon all his racist views about “blue eyed White devils” and all the rest of the nonsense preached by the pseudo-Islamic sect of the “Nation of Islam” and Elijah Muhammad.

This is also why German Nazis could not accept the unambiguous teaching of the New Testament about Jews: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28); For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free and have been all made to drink into one Spirit (Gal 5:6); Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God (1 Cor 7:19); For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit (1 Cor; 12 :13)

The sad but also inevitable reality is that in every single case of “religious nationalism” religion is always subservient to nationalism and religion is really an ancillary means towards a much more important nationalistic goal: to proclaim some kind of “imprimatur from God” to a rabid form of nationalism and, really, self-worship. As if God was busy with, or even interested in, our petty nationalistic agenda!

One wonderful Ukrainian Orthodox priest once told me “how can I think of nationalist issues when the angels are standing next to me in the altar!” And he was absolutely right of course. Religious nationalists are also the kind of people who “create” themselves a “God” in their own image.

Religion as an ideological tool of statecraft

The two forms of “utilitarian religion” above are often combined into one particularly insidious form of pseudo-religion which sees the people in power using religion as an instrument to foster patriotism and social responsibility.

Sadly, there is a lot of that in modern Russia. Communism, at least in its Soviet form has been pretty much rejected, at least by most people, and Capitalism’s reputation is now roadkill in modern Russia. Oh sure, some Communist/Socialist ideals are still very much respected and proclaimed and most Russians want to have the opportunity to have their own business and make good money. But neither Communism nor Capitalism can play the role which Orthodoxy played in Russia before the 17th century or the Marxist ideology played during the Soviet era. This is why you very often will see Russian politicians say that “Russia needs a national idea”. This is not a spiritual vacuum, but an ideologicalone and, sadly, the “official” Russian Orthodox Church (aka the “Moscow Patriarchate”) has been more than willing to fill this idealogical vacuum. As a result, political officers have often been replaced by priests, official ceremonies now almost always involve a clergyman and the “Patriarch” is now playing a very important political role. In many ways this has been a very positive development because this gives the Russian people a possibility to explore their own, individual, feelings and interest towards religion in general and Orthodoxy specifically, but this also has an extremely deleterious effect on the millions of potential Orthodox Christians who are turned away from this form of Orthodoxy because its obvious subservience to the State, its agenda and policies. You might say that there is no reason for the Moscow Patriarchate not to support Putin, and I would agree but, alas, this is also what the Moscow Patriarchate did under Eltsin and even the Soviet leaders.

As a result, the situation of Orthodox Christianity in Russia is very similar to the one of Latin Christianity in South America: real piety is mostly confined to the parish level while everything above this level is permeated, at various degrees, by politics and cynicism. As I have already described in a past article, by the late 1920s Russian Orthodoxy was split into at least 4 major branches (to which one could also add several Old Rite denominations) and the only reason why the branch which is currently considered as “official” was chosen (by the state and during the Soviet era!) as the “right one” is that it was absolutely and 100% loyal to the Soviet state just as it is now loyal to the new Russian state. Yes, total subservience to a secular state power as a “criterion of Orthodoxy” is, sadly, the only reason why the Moscow Patriarchate is recognized as the “official” Orthodox Church today.

I would note that this is not just a Russian problem – it is exactly the same in many other officially “Orthodox” countries, especially in eastern Europe (Romania, Bulgaria). By the way, we can also observe the same phenomenon in much of the Muslim world were political regimes get to decide which branch of Islam is considered as “correct” and which one out to be confined to jails. And just as in the Orthodox Church, we see “official” Islamic institution issue exactly the kind of fatwas which the state needs in support of its policies.

Of course, none of the above has anything to do with Christ or Mohammed and, furthermore, none of the above has anything to do with religion as such. This is just a typical manifestation of religion as a tool of statecraft which Marx and Lenin had identified a long time ago. Where Marx and Lenin were, of course, wrong is when they said that all religions must be like that, they religions are inherently a tool of political control. The history of Orthodoxy and Islam are both full of examples of Bishops and Sheikhs and even entire religious hierarchies “rendering unto to Cesar what belongs to God” and “serving two masters“. But you will also find amazing examples in Orthodoxy and Islam where religious leaders openly and courageously defied the worldly powers (I think of Patriarch Hermogen of Moscow or Husayn ibn Ali).

This is nothing new and has nothing to do with religion: it is a profoundly human phenomenon which can be found throughout history and in every place where there is power. Power does indeed corrupt, and it also corrupts religious leaders.

In the West, this tendency to replace a mystical Christianity with a form of “sacralized secular domination” began almost immediately after the fall of Rome and the Western Roman Empire (in 476 AD) and the subsequent separation of Frankish-controlled Rome from the rest of the Roman Christian world (in 1054) which outlived Rome by a full millennium (until 1453 exactly). In 1075 already the Papacy adopted an amazing document which became known as the Dictatus Papae (or Papal Dictation) and which contained 27 principles which had never ever been part of the teachings of the Early Church and the Church Fathers. Here is the full list: (source)

  1. That the Roman church was founded by God alone.
  2. That the Roman pontiff alone can with right be called universal.
  3. That he alone can depose or reinstate bishops.
  4. That, in a council his legate, even if a lower grade, is above all bishops, and can pass sentence of deposition against them.
  5. That the pope may depose the absent.
  6. That, among other things, we ought not to remain in the same house with those excommunicated by him.
  7. That for him alone is it lawful, according to the needs of the time, to make new laws, to assemble together new congregations, to make an abbey of a canonry; and, on the other hand, to divide a rich bishopric and unite the poor ones.
  8. That he alone may use the imperial insignia.
  9. That of the pope alone all princes shall kiss the feet.
  10. That his name alone shall be spoken in the churches.
  11. That this title [Pope] is unique in the world.
  12. That it may be permitted to him to depose emperors.
  13. That he may be permitted to transfer bishops if need be.
  14. That he has power to ordain a clerk of any church he may wish.
  15. That he who is ordained by him may preside over another church, but may not hold a subordinate position; and that such a one may not receive a higher grade from any bishop.
  16. That no synod shall be called a general one without his order.
  17. That no chapter and no book shall be considered canonical without his authority.
  18. That a sentence passed by him may be retracted by no one; and that he himself, alone of all, may retract it.
  19. That he himself may be judged by no one.
  20. That no one shall dare to condemn one who appeals to the apostolic chair.
  21. That to the latter should be referred the more important cases of every church.
  22. That the Roman church has never erred; nor will it err to all eternity, the Scripture bearing witness.
  23. That the Roman pontiff, if he have been canonically ordained, is undoubtedly made holy by the merits of St. Peter; St. Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, bearing witness, and many holy fathers agreeing with him. As is contained in the decrees of St. Symmachus the pope.
  24. That, by his command and consent, it may be lawful for subordinates to bring accusations.
  25. That he may depose and reinstate bishops without assembling a synod.
  26. That he who is not at peace with the Roman church shall not be considered catholic.
  27. That he may absolve subjects from their fealty to wicked men.

Every one of these new rules is in total and categorical contradiction with the preceding 1000 year long history of the Church which used to be called “Catholic” because not only of its universal nature, but because it was based on counciliar (all-incuding) meetings were all bishops were considered equal and no authority was recognized as superior to such a council of bishops.

Just two decades after cutting itself off from the Christian world, in 1054, the Pope declared himself some kind of “super-absolute-bishop”, in 1075, something unheard of before, and then soon thereafter, in 1096, the Papacy declared its first ‘crusade’. Does anybody really think that this is a coincidence?

And lest anybody believe that this is a fluke and that Pope Gregory VII was just one insane person, I would add here that he was Gregory VII was beatified by Pope Gregory XIII in 1584 and canonized in 1728 by Pope Benedict XIII so this is very, very “official” stuff, not just the lunatic ravings of a single megalomaniac. This is why Fedor Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor has the audacity to silence Christ Himself and say to Him “Thou hast no right to add one syllable to that which was already uttered by Thee before“: because the Papacy has always considered itself above God (and His Church).

This is no different than the no less megalomaniacal claim of Pharisaic Talmudism (aka “Orthodox Judaism” in official modern parlance) that a rabbi can “argue with God“, win the debate even rule over Him and “fix his Creation” and rule over Him! It is really no surprise that Phariseic Talmudism eventually degenerated to the crude religion of “Holocaustism” overt self-worship of the Kabbalstic concept of “collective Messiah“.

I think I can already hear the militant secularists proclaiming that all this is typical of the “God delusion“, that religion is a psychopathology which inevitably produces the kind of horrors I have described above. To them I would just say that for all their real crimes, religions still favorably compare to modern secular and putatively “enlightened” ideologies (from the Masonic French Revolution. to Marxists class warfare, to modern Capitalism) whose “atrocity scorecard” goes in the hundreds of millions. Those who believe that religions cause atrocities simply fail to understand that religions always bring people together and that people always behave in the violent way, including religious people. What makes religions different is that they at least offer a rationale to renounce violence (our common brotherhood in God) and an explanation for our tendency to use violence (our fallen nature). Yes, religions have been used by states to justify atrocities, but that use of religion is, of course, a mis-use of religion clearly condemned by Christ (render unto Cesar…). However, what has made religions so susceptible to such misuse has been their own gradual departure from what a real religion ought to be into a man-made product filled with all the inherent sins and mistakes of mankind.

The modern “ecumenism” of pseudo-religions

In the beginning of this article I did say that I would not discuss what Christianity (and religions in general) really is and that I would only describe what it is not. Still, at the very least, I have to mention a few key characteristics of early Christianity which can still be found in various parts of the modern Orthodox world and which set it apart from the rest of the so-called “Christian world”. What I would like to do next is to show what makes modern religions so profoundly similar to each other and what makes early Christianity so different from modern religions.

In a recent article for the Unz Review Israel Shamir wrote the following:

In my eyes, Catholic Church is the Church of the West, while the Orthodox Church is the Church of the East. Each church has its own garden to tend, its own traditions and ways. The East likes its priests bearded, the West prefers them shaved. The East likes them married, the West likes them married to the church. The East has no single head and spiritual leader: every national church is equal to its sister-church. The West has the Pope. The East takes for Eucharist its leavened bread mixed with wine, the West prefers unleavened bread for all, with wine for the clergy only. Such differences are normal and do not prevent the churches’ rapprochement (…) The biggest theological difference is filioque, which is so obscure that few worshippers understand or care.

Shamir, who was writing in the wake of the meeting between the Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill is absolutely correct: this minimal list of rather superficial “differences” is pretty much all that separates the modern and official types of Orthodoxy and Latin Christianity embodied by these two clerics. But if the meeting had taken place not between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill but, say, the Abbot of the Esphigmenou monastery on Mount Athos or the Rector of the The International Seminary of Saint Pius X in Ecône, Switzerland, the list of differences between the two religions would have been far more longer and substantive. It would have included a long list of irreconcilable dogmatic differences (the doxa, including the very concept of a super-bishop like the Pope) and an equally long and substantive list of differences in which Orthodox and Latin Christians live their faith on a daily basis (the praxis).

While in the recent pasts some Orthodox and Latin clerics have developed what could be called the “theology of the two lungs” which declares that the Orthodox Church and the Papacy are the “two lungs” of the Church (which is the theandric Body of Christ), the reality is that Orthodox and Latin ecclesiologies (the teaching about the nature of the Church) have been mutually exclusive at least since the 11th century and until the 20th century. Believe it or not, but even “traditionalist” (pre Vatican II) Latins are, from the point of view of traditional (early Church compatible) Orthodoxy heretics who have engaged in over one thousands years of innovations and departure from the faith “which the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian” (St. Athanasios).

[Sidebar: when discussing theological topics “heretic” is not an insult but refers simply to any person who has made a “different choice” from the teaching of the Church. A “heresy” is thus just a “choice” of something different. This can be contrasted with, for example, the word “schismatic” who is a person creating a rift/division in a religious organization but without proclaiming any different teaching or dogma. By the way, “dogma” simply means “belief” in the sense of “accepted theological tenet”. Finally, the word canon simple means a rule, a measure, a standard. Nowadays these words elicit images of pyres, autodaf és, witch-hunts, etc, but in reality these are absolutely necessary concepts to understand even the basics of Christian thought.]

If from a traditional Orthodox point of view Latins are heretics, then from the traditional Latin view the Orthodox are schismatics who have rebelled against the authority of the Pope and thereby cut themselves off the True Church entirely. Of course, nowadays, it is highly politically incorrect to say these thing that is why they are replaced by various ceremonies and meetings where the heads of the “official” (i.e. state supported) Orthodox and Latin churches hugs and kiss each other, exchanges presents and speak of unity. From the point of view of traditional (in the sense of “historical”) Orthodoxy and Papacy such displays of mutual affection are not only ridiculous, but they are highly immoral because they completely obfuscate the real and substantive reasons for the 1000 year long separation between the two denominations (what would Saint Nicholas of Myra have to say to such public hugging?!).

Just to give you a little taste of what kind of language the original Church used in describing interactions with heretics, let me quote from a canon of the Quinisextine Ecumenical Council (691), which both the Latin and Orthodox Churches fully recognized as authoritative, about marriage between Christians and heretics:

“An Orthodox (in the sense of “right believing” – the Saker ) man is not permitted to marry an heretical woman, nor is an Orthodox woman to be joined to an heretical man. But if anything of this kind appear to have been done by any, we require them to consider the marriage null, and that the marriage be dissolved. For it is not fitting to mingle together what should not be mingled, nor is it right that the sheep be joined with the wolf, nor the lot of “sinners with the portion of Christ! (Canon LXXII)

Still feel like kissing and hugging? Let me repeat here that officially both Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis have never repudiated the Quinisextine Ecumenical Council (at least not yet!). Instead, they just don’t talk about such “minor and obscure” canons any more.

Are you shocked by this kind of language?

I can give you an even more shocking example.

All Christians are banned, by no less than the Holy Apostles themselves, to pray with anybody who does not fully and totally share the same exact faith as they do. Yup, both Latins and Orthodox are categorically banned from praying with each other, even in their private homes! Here is the exact quote:

Canon 10 of the Holy Apostles: “If one who is not in communion prays together, even at home, let him be excommunicated”.

And what about these canons:

Canon 45 of the Holy Apostles: “A Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon that only prays together with heretics, should be excommunicated; if he has permitted them to perform anything as Clergymen, let him be defrocked.”

Canon 64 of the Holy Apostles: “If a Clergyman or a Layman should enter a Jewish synagogue, or pray with heretics, let him be excommunicated and defrocked.”

Yes, Christians are banned from ever entering a synagogue which, of course, both the Latin Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow have done – they have even greeted the Judaics as “brothers” and the Pope went as far as to declare that they both are awaiting the return of the same Messiah!

Again, I fully understand that somebody would reject Christianity because such canons would offend his/her feelings, but what I don’t understand is how those who think of themselves as Christians can either reject or ignore them. After all, these are canons handed down from the Apostles themselves, canons which have been fully endorsed by the entire Christian Church for 2000+ years and which have never been denounced by either the Orthodox or the Latins (for a full list and interpretation of Apostolic canons see here).

[Sidebar: there is nothing as dangerous as when a novice in the subtle and often paradoxical theological matters grabs a book of canons and begins reading into it all sorts of prescriptions as to how things ought be to done. Canons are not dogmas, and what is important in them is not the letter, but the spirit. Furthermore, some canons have been deliberately set aside and that is exactly how this should be in a living Church which is not just a collection of old rules. I quote these canons solely to illustrate the language and spirit in which, they were written and to contrast them to the sugary language used in modern pseudo-theological declarations].

Those shocked by what might (mistakenly) appear as the intolerance contained in the examples I give above ought to consider a simple fact: unlike Pharisaic Talmudism (the religion of Maimonides, Karo and Luria, aka modern “Judaism”) the spiritual roots of Christianity are truly in the religion of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: the ancient faith of the Jewish people before Christ and whose foremost Commandment is “Thou shalt have no other gods before me“. Replace the word “god” with the word “truth” (two aspects of the same reality, really) and you immediately get a sense of where the apparent “intolerance” of Christianity comes from. For example, the ban on marrying a heretic, even a Christian heretic, is a direct continuation of the ban for Jews taking spouses from other ethnicities. While Pharisaic Talmudism added a racist interpretation for this ban, the traditional Jewish and Christian ban is based on purely spiritual reasons: to jealously preserve the purity of the faith. And this is precisely why the LXXII Canon quoted above goes on to say:

But if any who up to this time are unbelievers and are not yet numbered in the flock of the orthodox have contracted lawful marriage between themselves, and if then, one choosing the right and coming to the light of truth and the other remaining still detained by the bond of error and not willing to behold with steady eye the divine rays, the unbelieving woman is pleased to cohabit with the believing man, or the unbelieving man with the believing woman, let them not be separated, according to the divine Apostle, “for the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife by her husband.”

In that case the Church does not speak of a “sheep be joined with the wolf” but of one spouse “sanctifying” the other. To sum this all up I would say that (the real, original) Judaism and Orthodox Christianity (the latter being a continuation of the former) place an immense emphasis on the Truth, on never placing the True and the False on the same level, on never obfuscating the differences between to different teachings.

In contrast, most modern Christian denominations couldn’t care less about any truth, be it historical, dogmatic or even factual.

[Sidebar: by ‘Truth” I mean something very specific. My spiritual father recently defined it as such “Truth is not a relative abstract but a cognitive monument formed by revealed absolutes” and that is as good a definition has I have ever seen]

I even believe that most modern Christian denominations have simply given up on the very concept of “truth” altogether. Their sole concern is expediency, really, some vague idea of “practical” as opposed to what is “theoretical”, such as any discussion of what the truth might be.

For example, modern Ecumenists will always proclaim that they believe in the same God, the same Trinity, the same Mother of God and that they therefore “recognize the validity of the Mysteries (called “Sacraments” in the West) of the other Ecumenists. Contrast that with the difference between the Orthodox and the Gnostics and Arians which could be summed up in two words which differ from each other only by, literally, a tiny letter iota: “homousios” versus “hom iousios” (the former meaning “of the same substance” and the latter “of a similar substance”). Early Christians died because of this “tiny” difference! You can imagine what they would say if the saw Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis hugging each other and calling each other “brothers in the Christian faith“! Again, the point is not to discuss the difference between “same” and “similar” substances, but to contrast the difference in approach to issues of faith between early Christians and modern “official” religious leaders.

[Sidebar: this uniquely Christian form of “intolerance” was really bewildering to the pagan Romans who were far more similar to our modern Ecumenists. Most people don’t realize that pagan Romans never asked Christians to give up their faith. Neither did they want to force them to pray only to the Roman gods. “All” they wanted is for the Christians to also “honor” the Romans God by bringing them a small sacrifice, sometimes as small as just adding a few coals to the fire of a Roman god. And yet, the early Christians stubbornly refused such seemingly “small” gestures which they viewed as an apostasy because it equated false god with the One Real God. They chose horrible tortures and death rather than even give the external impression that they accepted the reality of Roman gods. Even those Christians who did not accept to offer a sacrifice to Roman god but who obtained a certificate stating that they had done so were referred to as “libellatici” (“certificate holders”) and considered as “lapsed” from the Church!]

So yes, it is true that modern Christians do not care about “obscure theological matters” and that is precisely what makes them so different from the True Christians of the early Church and those Orthodox Christians today who still hold the traditions “which have been passed on to them “whether by word or in writing” (2 Thes 2:15) and who still remember that even if “an angel from heaven” would preach a “different gospel” to them that they should reject him as “accursed” (Gal 1:8).

While for original Christians “obscure theological matters” were important enough to be tortured to death for, for modern “post-Christian Christians” they basically irrelevant. They have long forgotten the warning from God “because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit thee out of my mouth” (Rev 3:16) and all they care for is for the external unity of Christian denomination, nevermind if they hold mutually exclusive theological views or even, no theological views at all like the amazing Unitarian Universalists (aka the “youyoohs”) who embody syncretism lead to its logical conclusion.

The ethos of YOLO and DILLIGAF

At the end of the day, all these modern “decaf denominations” which have really done away with “intolerance” and “zealotry” result in a society were nobody gives a damn anymore, a society where the anti-spirituality of the ethos YOLO and DILLIGAF provide the basis for endless consumerism and general stupidification. This is the kind of anti-religion which the New World Order needs – a religion which would unite all of mankind into a single, vapid, shapeless mass serving the NWO and its 1% leaders by consuming, obeying and never asking a question, especially about what is or is not true. This is why the powers that be and the media put such an effort into promoting these “official” religions and why they constantly fawn over their leaders.

Think of it – does it not strike you as paradoxical that Christ said “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19) and yet the very same corporate media who serves the AngloZionist Empire and its planned New World Order also would give putatively “Christian” leaders the kind of coverage which normally goes to Rock stars?

When was the last time you ever heard one of those “superstar religious leaders” dare to denounce the modern rulers of our world as genocidal mass murderers they are or simply as hypocrites? But no, they meet with them and they hug, they smile, they kiss – each time a big love fest. Long gone is the time when Christian leaders had the courage to openly criticize an Empress (like Saint John Chrysostom) or dare to speak to a modern leader like Saint Philip II, Metropolitan of Moscow, who refused to bless the Czar Ivan the Terrible after a church service and instead publicly castigated him in the following words:

I don’t recognize the Orthodox Czar any more. I don’t recognize him in his rule, O Lord! We are here bringing a sacrifice to God, while behind the alter the blood of innocent Christians is shed. Since the sun shines in the sky it has never been seen or heard that a pious Czar would outrage his own kingdom in such a way! Even if the most impious and pagan kingdoms there is the rule of law and the Truth, and there is mercy towards the people, but not in Russia! You are high on your throne, but there is an Almighty Judge above you. How will you face his judgment? Covered in the blood of the innocent, made deaf by the sound of their tortured screams? Even the stones under your feet are demanding vengeance O Lord! I am telling you as a pastor of souls – fear the One God!

Can you imagine an Orthodox Patriarch or a Latin Pope addressing, say, Obama with such words? And while Saint Philip was eventually tortured and murdered for his courage, modern Patriarchs and Popes incur no such risks. And yet they remain silent: they see nothing, hear nothing and, above all, say nothing. YOLO and DILLIGAF indeed…

This is why the Empire and the New World Order loves them.

Conclusion – what religion is not

I have tried to show the various reasons why I consider that most of what is called “religion” today is nothing of the kind. We live in a world of pseudo-everything, an “Empire of Illusions” to borrow Chris Hedges‘ expression. Original Christianity was an intensely mystical faith, one which centered on prayerand asceticism, which lead to an intensely personal experience of God and His uncreated energies was never detached from a zealous determination to preserve the purity of the original faith “which the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers“. Early Christian monasticism is a perfect example of this “symphony” between individual spiritual struggles and public action in defense of the faith: while in normal times monastics lived in remote locations and deserts, they always left their secluded dwellings to enter the city and publicly defy and condemn any heresy. In modernist Orthodox denominations this kind of individual responsibility has been replaced with a “keep praying, shut up and mind your business” attitude (I have witnessed that myself in the Russian Orthodox Church as recently as the 2000-2007 time period).

Truly, the state of religions today is a sad one and you will not hear me defend it. Christ warned about that when he said “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Mat 5:13). Yes, sure, the modernists currently control all the holy places (ancient churches and cathedrals), courtesy of secular police forces who are more than happy to evict “non-official” denominations from their places of worship, but this was also predicted by Christ when he spoke of the “abomination of desolation” in the “holy place” (Mat 24:15). There is probably nothing much we, the simple people, can do about that. But what we can do is remember the “real thing” and never allow the modern “verisimilitudinous Christianity” to take its place in our hearts and minds. Finally, we should always remember the words of Christ who told us that His Church was the “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15) and that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mat 16:18). This means that no matter how ugly and even horrible our situation becomes, God will never let His Church truly disappear from our world. Somewhere, maybe only in a small corner of our planet, His Church will always survive, faithful to the Church of the Apostles and the Fathers, unchanged by all the persecutions and slow motion descent into apostasy of the rest of the world. And if somebody really wants to find this Church, he/she will. This is also a promise Christ made to all of us: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Mat 5:6).

The Saker

PS: I fully realize that the above will deeply irritate and offend some readers. My views are the expression of a culture and a faith which is long gone. You can think of me as an “alien”, if you want. I have to warn you that the only criticism I really fear is if you told me that in the above I misrepresented the true and original mindset, or phronema, of the Church Fathers and of the Early Christians. If I am guilty of that, then I sincerely apologize and repent for it. But if I ruffled the feathers or rattled the cages of the modern “post-Christian Christians” and of the usual gang of religion-hating secularists, then so be it! This is not a popularity contest but simply my personal witness to my readers. Like in an AA meeting, you can take or leave any or all of it 🙂

(Republished from The Vineyard of the Saker by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Christianity, Religion 
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  1. The canons you quote were not written by the apostles.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  2. Rehmat says:

    More than 90% of Christian theologians are of the opinion that Christ was hanged from a tree by Roman Viceroy with the help of Jewish leaders.

    America’s famous comedian Sarah Silverman has threatened that if Christ ever return during her life time, she will him like her Jewish ancestors did over 2000 years ago.

    US Baptist minister Rev. Howard Bess, has claimed that Christ is not coming back as the Christians and Muslims believe.

  3. mtn cur says:

    Good stuff. I know a Laotion lady who is an ordained southern baptish preacher and she remarked that most everyone in southeast asia claimed to be Buddhist but never read the scriptures. I told her that they would fit in quite well in America. This piece I saved to favorites.

  4. Philip Owen [AKA "soarintothesky"] says:

    The Anglican Church rowed back a long way from the Roman position. Some of its early Bishops were consecrated by Orthodox Bishops in Sweden (its not on the internet as far as I can tell). When Protestantism took strong hold in the 17th Century there was a group of bishops who discusses becoming Orthodox. This dalliance lasted until, in the 1920’s, Constantinople agreed to shared Communion. Now there are women priests and some American bishops have performed gay marriages this may no longer hold although I am not aware of a formal withdrawal by any Orthodox Church.

  5. nickels says:

    I made it about halfway.

    If Christianity falls Jews will rule the West.

    That is reason enough for me to believe in Christ. Once you believe in Christ all your theological complexities begin to heal themselves and the truth reveals itself.

    • Replies: @Santoculto
    , @Bill
    , @DaveE
    , @Rehmat
  6. Talha says:

    Saker, bro – excellent piece. Loved it – learned a lot of details about Orthodox Christianity that I did not know!

    Down with religious nationalism!

    May God bless you and yours.

  7. joe webb says:

    how anybody can take seriously the Sacker is beyond me. The Sacker is a religious. The Sacker is not a political person. The Sacker believes in racial equality, OR, believes that whatever racial differences there are…that they make no difference.

    The Sacker loves MLK and darkies in general, and they are all God’s chillun. Such nonsense cannot be part of a sober assessment of political conditions in general, for example, that Man is tribal, and is so for biological and evolutionary reasons that cannot be changed by Magic Words, incantations, poetry, and rhetoric of One World.

    I have no problem with Christianity as long as it does not pronounce on secular matters. Christ did not condemn slavery, nor did he bother with political matters…this was all worldly, and heaven is not of this earth, etc.

    I am all for love, but love only obtains under conditions of genetic similarity, social trust, and relative social peace. A decent economy helps too, like enough food and water, Without this, all the mumbo-jumbo of religion evaporates.

    The sacker seems to accept nationalism, but he hates White Nationalism. White Nationalism is just the normal reaction of whites being attacked by other ethnic/racial nationalisms. The other nationalisms are far more racist than WN.

    White Nationalism gives Other races the right to live, just not with us. The Black and Brown, and Arab racists and nationalists do not give Whites the right to their own lands and their own lives.
    They are killers, leaches, shakedown artists, and ju-ju believers…magic, witch doctors, shamans, and loony-tuners in general. In other words, they hate us and will kill to replace us…totally, and bring take the white world back to the swamp.

    Of course, at some point, when whites are defeated, the Chinese will step in and kill all the darkie killers. Then the world will be Chinese….such a vision of hell none of the Catholic, etc. folks ever dreamed up. 1984 ish. But without any Winston Smiths to worry about free speech and liberty. Just a rabbit warren of chink robots. clink, clink, clink, chink , chink, chink. robot cut-outs.
    peace at last. All the animals dead, etc.
    Joe Webb

  8. nickels says:

    Finished it. You seem to bash progressivism which is to my liking.
    Currently reading about Hegel’s Hermetic roots. Very likely much Christianity today is a detour down a path heretical to the early church notions via Hegel’s progressivism.

  9. The traditional Church was, to a large extent, under imperial authority from its official birth during the reign of emperor Constantine to the fall of Constantinople.
    This was preserved in the Eastern churches, rejected in the catholic church who claimed papal authority, and reinstated by some protestant denominations like the anglicans.
    Separation of state and church would have been heresy for the first 700 years of christianity everywhere.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  10. @Rehmat


    Based on what data?

    Christians who believe something contrary to the Biblical account?

    Why that would make them non-Christian.

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  11. @mtn cur

    Heh, I took some BS 510 East Asian studies class back in uni to fulfill requirements (something like “mountains and East Asian religions), the professor said the same thing about Buddhists. Have to admit, the class was pretty decent and the prof was a whitey with no ethnic guilt and a Christian (also white) husband to boot. Hell, she even as far to say most S.E. Asian Buddhists weren’t literate enough to read the scriptures (not a bad thing, necessarily, Buddhism is mostly paradoxical nonsense).

  12. Brewer says:
    @joe webb

    I agree” that love only obtains under conditions of genetic similarity”.
    Given that 99.9 per cent of human genes are common to all colour and creed however, I tend to see this more in terms of an admonition against bestiality.

    • Replies: @mtn cur
    , @Anonymous
  13. Who are the Satanists, that is the question! [Trotsky for sure.]

    You have todo a system’s analysis on Religion – communism – capitalism – managed markets.

    The morality for the 99% , which is produced by a thought system, is the most important thing. Does the system produce working, non-criminal partcipants, and Justice and prosperity for the large majority?

    Go back to Socrates, who divides the human mind into 3:

    -social, human mind : abiding universal laws, ensuring Justice and prosperity for all (future mankind)
    – animal spirits (J.M. Keynes): selfpraise, self -agrandising and indulging in Luxury: Trump, Billionaires, corporate CEO class, actors, sport stars.
    – Satanists: enjoying Wars, terrorizing the masses and torture: AIPAC/Netanyahu and vazals

    Who thinks this question is NOT the most important?

  14. very interesting article thanks

  15. Seraphim says:
    @Pseudonymic Handle

    Contrary to what people assume uncritically, the traditional Church (Orthodox, that is) was NOT under imperial authority from its official birth during the reign of emperor Constantine to the fall of Constantinople!
    The reality is that church was always separated from the State, from “its official birth during the reign of emperor Constantin” to the fall of Constantinople and beyond! The “State” was the Roman Empire which never became a confessional state. The State was the protector of the Church which (again contrary to the received ‘wisdom’ of the professional anti-Christian propagandists masquerading as ‘professors’), comprised the vast majority of the population of the Empire at the time when Constantin emitted his Edict of TOLERATION of the Christian ‘religio’. But it remained as well the protector of all the “licitae religiones” of the Imperial Constitution. The relations of the “State” and “Church” have been always predicated on the legal background of the Roman Law. The real heresy was the Papal usurpation of the functions of the Roman State. The Eastern parts of the Roman Empire, which survived the Papal usurpation, lived in a state of ‘symphonia’ – meaning “agreement or concord of sound”, “concert of vocal or instrumental music”, from σύμφωνος /symphōnos, “harmonious” – with the Church.
    The Popes subordinated the State to the Church, the Anglicans subordinated the Church to the State. In both cases, they are in διαφωνία (diaphōnia)= dissonance.

  16. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Groovy Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    Christianity has sent out into the world deeply profound music….from classical music to the music that came out of the Bible Belt American South.

    It is very hard to imagine that the New Athiests….whose pope was the filthy disgusting reprobate Christopher Hithchens….can produce anything on the level of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis”.

    Thomas Tallis was a composer of Church Music. Ralph Vaughan Williams- although an agnostic-was a Cultural Christian.

    What we call Traditional American Music comes out of the American Bible Belt South. This music was created by devout Christians.

    In 2016, the religion of the US is filthy-rectum-worshipping-homo-norming whose Popes are the narcissistic homosexual Kenyan Foreigner and the old farting-violent-psychopath-hairy-fat-ankled-Lesbian.

    The murder of three thousand Russians in cold blood in the Ukraine is the first stage in the homo-norming of Conservative Orthodox Christian Russia.

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  17. Cradle Catholic, strong defender of Christian culture and behavioral codes in the secular sphere. Metaphysically? Atheist, contemplative, half-century practitioner of Zen, the Buddhism with no “scriptures”, a practice aimed at direct experience of the inexplicable, which is NOT synonymous with “paradoxical nonsense” regardless of the profound understanding demonstrated by the fellow who took a class once.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  18. I guess Saker will have to repudiate Kirill. Kirill has sold his soul to Putin and his thuggery. His nationalism means more than his supposed attachment to Christ.

    • Replies: @stickman
  19. @nickels

    So, christianism invaded, killed a lot of ”native” people and populate more than a half of the american hemisphere with non-whites… that today will forcing the opening of the stateunitian borders.

    So Christianism is guilty by slavery, not white people.

    Christianism also slaved MOST of white people since it emerged and finish their real eugenic evolution via increasing of real-world perceptual skills. think for themselves. without this cult, whites become extremely vulnerable, in other words, they are not, on avg, spiritually self- sufficient, thanks to the christianism.

    Jesus, the holy jew, is their savior…

    Today a lot of family-leaning white people, a lot of them, believe that if ” ‘God/Jesus/Buda’ ‘said’ that we are all your sons, thug blacks included’, then to be a ”anti-racist” is the absolute logical thing to do.

    just the fact that many-to-most of literal christians are not even above average ((real)) smart, show us which would be the only way forward and I am not referring just to atheism, because a lot of atheists are sociopaths or morally atheists.

    What is incredible about all this is that MANY (white) people continue believing that ”ideology” and ”religion” are completely different things.

    • Replies: @RaceRealist88
  20. Rehmat says:
    @Unapologetic White Man

    There are 1.2 billion Catholics amongst 1.9 billion world Christianity. Crucification of Christ by Jews is a pillar of faith for them – except the Crypto-Jews at the Vatican.

    Since Pope Francis claims that one cannot be a good Christian unless he/she has a “Jewish soul” – he/she doesn’t need to believe in biblical account. Furthermore, according to Talmudic account, a Jew is a Jew – if he/she is born to a Jewish mother – even if he is a atheist like David Ben-Gurion or Gen. Ariel Sharon.

  21. Rehmat says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    Classical and religious music has part of Hindu religion since 5,000 years before the dawn of modern Christianity in Rome in 325 CE. Half-naked young ‘virgin’ women used to perform in temples to entertain their gods.

    Western Judo-Christians who pride themselves for inventing modern pornography could be surprised to learn that pornography existed in Hindu scriptures and temple-decoration centuries before time of Moses.

    Justice Makandey Katju, 69, served at India’s Supreme Court (2006-2011). He retired as chairman of Press Council of India on October 5, 2014. He claims to be an atheist and is a known critic of Hindu religion. However, he claims that if he ever decided to practice an organized religion – he will adopt Hinduism because it doesn’t ban his two favorite loves; booze and sex with women out of wedlock.

  22. Seraphim says:

    Have you tried Voodoo? Rastafari?

    • Replies: @Montefrío
  23. Bill says:

    If Christianity falls Jews will rule the West.


    • Replies: @nickels
  24. I have not read the article, but perhaps a comment on the first sentence (“We live in a post-Christian society, not only because truly religious Christians are now a small minority, but also because culturally and spiritually our society has almost completely severed any links it once had with the original Christianity of the early Church.”) is in order:

    On the contrary, I think never in all of History has there been a time in which the Christ maxim “love thy enemy” has met more favor. Of course, chances are this won’t last, whatever the outcome is, a change of mind or self-extermination.

  25. mtn cur says:

    Only a 3% difference between us and chimps; and there is the problem. Irrespective of race, individuals must be sufficiently evolved beyond the common to be able to differentiate between the brain damaged (see epigenetics) which are the bulk of the bell curve and those who are or likely will grow to be, actual adult homo sapiens. I love any who love, that being the best litmus of membership in the human race and pack a pocket Sig Sauer and a Kershaw for those who take exception to a dangerous extreme. There are the few and the rest, no matter what color or other measure you go by. I watch the good so that I can see good things happen and I watch the rest out of self defense.

  26. Just wondering … any of you guys out there who might have a smattering of true intellectual presence, perhaps some degree of liberal education, plus a bit of real-life experience and a curiosity about science that embodies a willingness to examine all evidence with scientific discipline … how many of you believe a jot, an iota, a smidgen of all this religious hoo-hoo? Is anybody out there got the noogies to declare, “What a load of absurd rot!”?

    • Replies: @Bill
    , @TWS
    , @iffen
    , @nobody101
  27. Klokman says:

    As usual, not enough digging into history and thereby questioning one’s most fundamental presumption(s).

  28. Two teachings from Jesus:
    (1) Love thy enemy.
    (2) Love thy neighbor as thyself.

    Your enemy, by definition, wants to destroy you, therefore to love him is tantamount to self-destroying.
    One who self-destroys hates oneself.
    To love one’s neighbor as oneself, when one hates oneself, means to hate one’s neighbor.

    • Replies: @boogerbently
  29. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    As someone raised in Catholicism, I retain a nostalgia for it. But The Saker doesn’t confront what for me is the most important aspect of this faith, i.e., its indifference to survival. In high school we were assigned a little book called Mr. Blue, by Myles Connolly. The author’s intent was to depict a modern young man truly living according to Jesus’ teaching. And he succeeded. The man ministered to the poor, gave away all his money and died young (of tuberculosis, if I recall correctly). If you truly give no thought to what you shall wear or what you shall eat and you give away everything to follow Jesus, you will not survive nor will your children — unless you beg and let others do the dirty work for you. I’d be glad to hear The Saker either try to persuade me that that is fine or that I’m misunderstanding.

    • Replies: @boogerbently
  30. Saker makes the rookie mistake of thinking that dogma comes first, “meaning” something, and then people either adhere to it or “reinterpret” it. Nonsense. People;s beliefs come first, the dogma is only given lip service. “Neither Jew nor Gentile” :Love your Neighbor” etc. mean anything a society wants them to mean at any point. Hence, the vast differences btw “Christian” societies like Salt Lake City, Rome, Dublin, Ren. Flroence, etc.

    The error arises in a Christian context, Ch. being an alien faith imposed as a bunch of dogmas and creeds on a “pagan” population. Real, pagan religion is a product of the people, not vice versa.

    If you doubt that, you probably think no one commits adultery in NJ because “it’s a felony”.

  31. Che Guava says:

    The Saker,

    I generally enjoy your articles. Must take you to task on conflating the doctricinal differences of Arians and Gnostics with Orthodoxy.

    The latter (Gnostics) are not one thing, to start with. ‘Homousios’ versus ‘hom iousios’ was never their main concern.

    Marcion, often considered the first of the Gnostics, is well known from early Church fathers for rejecting the Old Testament and assembling the first version of the New.  None of the Church fathers, whether Tertulian, Irenaeus,or Origen. Is considered a saint. All are condered hereti

    MAe is said to have said that the New Testament God supercedes and is not the same as that of the Old.

    Some of the ‘higher crit’ theologians have reconstructed the first canon of the NT

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  32. @Seraphim

    A reasonable response would be because they first appear to have been promulgated several hundred years after the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and long after the last apostle had died.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  33. Che Guava says:

    As for the later Gnostics, who were very different, Valentian, Basilus,

  34. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Today — right now — an event is taking place in the US Capitol (Emancipation Hall) titled Days of Remembrance sponsored by USHolocaust Museum featuring 60 holocaust survivors. C Span is videoing the event but cable subscription is required to view live.
    This seems to me to be a “Constantinian moment,” when the dogma of the holocaust is recognized at the highest levels of the State.

    • Replies: @Wally
  35. nickels says:

    It won’t fall, although it is certainly threatened and is (in the very short run) on a diminishing path.

    But that path, secular humanism, is quickly showing its bankruptcy and the West will almost surely swing back to religion, Christianity in particular.

    • Replies: @Bill
    , @TheJester
  36. @Seraphim

    You neglect various breakdowns in the pretty picture you suggest, e.g., the Iconoclast vs. Icononodule civil war and the persecution of Monophosytes. Many historians believe that the bitterness created by the latter may have laid the foundation for the success of Mohammed worship in Palestine and North Africa.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  37. George123 says:

    Great article Saker.

    Many believe that the beginning of the modern world in the West can be dated to that moment when the Catholic Church decided to enshrine egoism and megalomania and put itself above all other churches.

    All successive modern movements are just further elaborations of the idea of egoism, of putting man above everything. But ego eventually destroys itself in a welter of hatred and rage, as we see happening to the modern West, where increasingly smaller factions (feminists, transgenders) get drunk on egoistic rage and seek to battle other social factions to the destruction of society and us all, and the few men of good will remain passive and indifferent.

    That’s the meaning of the phrase “the best lack all conviction, the worst is full of passionate intensity” – in a world where only ego is recognized, only those capable of being motivated by hate, envy, and rage will rise to the fore, while those who would be capable of great motivation through love are left confused and disoriented, with the rug pulled out from under their feet, as it were.

    But truly you see the first faint glimmerings of the Western spirit in that early Catholic decision, a spirit which today is finally working itself out to its last dreadful consequences and being extinguished in the fires of its own egoism.

  38. @Rehmat

    A lot of those “1.2 billion Catholics” are only nominally so, e.g., the majority of Latin American “Catholics” many of whom are more into various syncretistic religions like Santeria, Voodoo, etc., than they are into orthodox Catholicism and many more of whom are lucky to see a priest once a year. Protestant evangelists have been very successfully targeting these poorly served people.

    • Replies: @Rehmat
    , @Montefrío
  39. I enjoyed and appreciated your analysis. If Christianity is to survive Christians must work together to restore the unity of the Broken Church. I am a Catholic ( not at all a good one) but I recognize that historically the Papacy bears irrefutable, primary responsibility for the Great Schism and later the Reformation that splintered the Western Church. A good starting point for reunification would be for a Pope to call a Catholic Ecumenical Council that would renounce Papal claims to supremacy and all the errors arising subsequently. That might allow healing of the Great Schism, a true Ecumenical Council and perhaps a second step towards some reunification of all Christians.

    As an American Catholic, I am only too well aware that the doctrine of papal infallibility was foisted on the Church by an Italian Pope who made damn sure that the American bishops who would have opposed this power grab did not have an opportunity to participate in the sham council that declared this dogma.

    • Replies: @Bill
  40. stickman says:

    Quartermaster’s Pavlovian distaste for Putin strikes me as the result of doses of military indoctrination above and beyond any possibility of simple satiation.

    • Replies: @RaceRealist88
  41. @Rehmat

    It’s right there in the NT that the Jews killed Jesus as he “wasn’t the Messiah”. Pilate washed his hands of Jesus’ death. The Jews are responsible.

  42. @Santoculto

    What is incredible about all this is that MANY (white) people continue believing that ”ideology” and ”religion” are completely different things.

    I agree. Religion gives ideology, ideology can also lead to religion. They’re one in the same.

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  43. @Rehmat

    Since Pope Francis claims that one cannot be a good Christian unless he/she has a “Jewish soul” – he/she doesn’t need to believe in biblical account. Furthermore, according to Talmudic account, a Jew is a Jew – if he/she is born to a Jewish mother – even if he is a atheist like David Ben-Gurion or Gen. Ariel Sharon.

    So according to the Pope I’m not Roman Catholic since I don’t have a Jewish soul?

    Hilarious. The Church has been taken over by Jews for a while now.

  44. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @joe webb

    You are right. You know, Sub-Saharan Africans did not form any culture or civilization ever. The first form of writing was developed by Sumerians called the cuneiform in 4th millennium BC, whereas Sub-Saharan Africans have never even developed their own writing, not before white European people came and thought them their own in the 17th and 18th century… over 5.500 years after it was first developed.

    You can also acquaint yourself the work of the Nobel Prize winning biologist James Watson on brain deficiencies of Negroids {lower density of grey matter of their brains which means that brain has less synapses and thus needs more time to process information (and they also show some deficiencies in frontal lobe)}. Anyone who disputes these facts is either a genuine idiot, ideologically or religiously brainwashed or both.

    • Replies: @Talha
    , @mtn cur
  45. Pat Casey says:

    Well I learned a bit and brushed up on as much but must write off some though am indeed touched by the wink at my old occasional haunt AA.

    I guess I want to say more than I’m going to, being touched. Basically the Catholic Church has accumulated a lot of ethics that once did but no longer have anything to do with morality and so they are not taught anymore. It’s almost a joke to say the Church of Rome has alota stuff on the books. One thing I was told is that the sacrament of confession is meant to be a single act of confession; that its designed like a laundry-list engagement is because that’s how the weight naturally comes out. And if you just go in there and cry the priest will not ask for more though maybe less. So I would say as a historian you’re not being priggish (though you kinda skipped all the context) but as a critic you are.

    But since I greatly appreciate any writer who thoughtfully switches to talk of God on the fly, I’ll share a few secrets of mine that are really actually true, what the protestants would call my testimony. And it’s three things, three things that are really actually really truly true.

    One time I was in a state and hugely drunk all by myself and started amusing myself by repeating over and over a form of the liars paradox I struck up that I thought was so funny for being sinister, then yet not. I thought it was so funny and I was so drunk that my repeated self-talk became actually a chant. And once I started chanting it was like boarding a train. I had never chanted anything before and suddenly I was chanting. Then a single small cloud twenty feet off my porch started billowing and caught my attention. And out of that cloud came the figure of the grim reaper. I had been chanting something sinister as a fully insane lark and summoned a damn apparition. If it was in my head I still saw it and maybe don’t really see the difference because I was not thinking of the grim reaper. Then I was just struck dumb, drunk.

    I’m admittedly manic depressive and one symptom of mine is the acute need I have come over me to often write. I won’t have anything I want to write but I will just need to type. And I find after I write something I even just tossed off I start to really believe it, sometimes more sometimes less. Well one time I put my pen to something I should not have, and for about fifteen minutes felt like a God. Then I sunk like a stone and the fear of the Lord consumed me, the fear of God struck me down and I knew to an absolute certainty that I was in for the most awful death on a particular date. I knew this, like I know the sun is coming up tomorrow. All I can say is that I knew this was going to happen. And I heard my fathers voice in my head clear as a bell yell No Pat Find a Priest! So I found my priest, and he wanted to send me straight to the ward, till I begged him, please just give me absolution. And I was behind the screen and knew exactly when he made that sacred motion of the hand, because I gasped something supernatural. I mean I didn’t gasp, I heaved like I had four longs, like something in me was being pulled out from the bottom of some pit in me. After that the priest called another priest and they wanted to know my whole story, and didn’t mention no psych ward again. And I was at such peace talking of me with them.

    The last one is interesting because I mentioned it around here before it fully happened. Wilde wrote from prison, every man kills the thing he loves. Well lets just say to save myself I had to kill the thing I love, and banish myself to my wilderness. And for a time I was sad enough to stare at the stars at night and cry for myself. And I noticed certain stars twinkle. And I discovered when these stars are stared at as to cynosure they started to move, by God they started to move. And for two weeks I saw the stars move for me. Then the cloud came in. And when they went away the stars came to earth, and they canvassed the valley off my mountaintop porch. And when I saw one come over the tree line it was coming straight for me. And it went through my porch railing and only missed me cause I dodged as I saw it float through the wall into my house. That night I eventually let several of them float through me. And when they did that beneficent tingle through your spine that radiates through your soul is how it felt. But I didn’t say what they were. They orbs of blinking lights. Like holograms with blinking lights. The netflix doc Pyramid Codes episode two has a dude that measures them and called them ionized orbs. Plenty of pictures in the dark pick them up. But I unsure of their intentions and concerned word reached my mom. When I answered her email I, as I said before, made myself believe they were really truly angels. And as I was writing this one floated into the house and began circling me, though it had not its lights on and was only like a floating outline. How that one ends I save for myself. Lord knows I’m know saint but I’m pretty sure that’s how history knows them by the halo.

    Like in an AA meeting, you can take or leave any or all of it 🙂

    • Replies: @Talha
  46. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @joe webb

    Sounds like you’re projecting your desire to “kill all the darkies”. You don’t want to express it directly, but rather project it onto others.

  47. Bill says:

    Ha. I meant that it had already fallen. There is no country in the “West” which is recognizably Christian. Obviously, the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church, but that doesn’t mean the Church or its ideas will have any temporal power at all.

  48. Bill says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    No, we’re all gnu atheist autists LARPing as believers. For the shekels.

  49. Bill says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    not at all a good one

    You said one true thing at least.

  50. @stickman

    Putin? You mean Jewtin. He is a philosemite.

  51. Wally [AKA "BobbyBeGood"] says: • Website

    … the dogma of the holocaust is recognized at the highest levels of the State.

    Yes, and so was witchcraft.

    The ‘6M Jews, 5M others, & gas chambers’ are scientifically impossible frauds.
    see the ‘holocaust’ scam debunked here:
    No name calling, level playing field debate here:

    All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”.
    Arthur Schopenhauer

  52. DaveE says:

    I would say “Amen” to that, except I’m not a Christian so it would probably be disrespectful to do so.

    I really liked this piece, except the author seems to be unaware of Jewish infil-traition and subversion of the church, even before Jesus’ body was cold.

    It’s been a CONSTANT problem. People like the Orthodox and Martin Luther figured out where the problem was, but the Jewish power-structure is relentless and its roots go all the way to Hell. WAY past the Vatican, that is.

    The problem is not going away any time soon, either, unless Christians grow a spine, a brain, learn some of their own history and get serious about dealing with the Oldest Ethnic Mafia, evah.

    Which is NOT going to happen peacefully, barring a miracle.

    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
  53. Art says:

    In spite of all the bad preachers, priests, potentates of Christianity – its everyday people have prospered beyond that of any other religion. That is an undisputable fact. The Christian West is a success – clearly not a total success – but never the less a success.

    All religions have two parts to them – the preach how to live with God and how to live with each other. No man that has ever lived, truly knows God – those who say they do, are speculating at best. It is not Christian theology about God that is so successful – it is the Christian philosophy for living with each other that leads people to a better life.

    Christian philosophy is successful because it is idealistic. It says to do things – it says be hopeful, it says to treat life as sacred, it says to seek the truth, it says to forgive, it says to be graceful, and it says to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

    There is nothing negative in these precepts – they do not say “you shall not” – they are all positive affirmations. They lead to life sustaining cooperative actions. These Christian ideals are the engine of Western success.

  54. Talha says:

    Wow! So I guess the Empires of Ghana (aka Wagadou), Mali or the Songhai never existed!

    All of these are well within the boundaries of Sub-Saharan Africa:

    That is a huge claim, do you have any proof?

    Timbuktu was a major center of learning and commerce since medieval times – they were writing in Arabic.

    Sankore University was a major center of Maliki Jurisprudence:

    Please check your sources.


  55. Talha says:
    @Pat Casey

    Thanks for sharing Pat, I appreciate it. Life is always the more profound with these kinds of experiences whether in one’s own life or in others.

    May God preserve you and yours.

  56. TheJester says:

    I suspect and hope you are right that there will be a religious revival in the West. The changes of Western Civilization surviving without one are marginal.

    The issue is the values that can hold a society together and create the conditions for it to prosper. Society and families with it are systems … they have systemic needs. Above all, they must be practical with a link to reality and the physical and social conditions necessary to sustain life and culture from one generation to another. Christianity has traditionally provided that to the West, accommodating both the individual and society in a delicate balance that created the civilization that conquered the world more with its ideas than its armies and navies.

    Our current affliction: It is hard to sustain a society committed to crass witchcraft and illusion on a scale that it can no longer recognize that there are difference between men and women; that the family is the medium through which one generation begets another; that believes that diversity (the celebration of differences regardless of intensity and consequences) can be the unifying principle of a society; and that believes there are no such things as social deviants, sociopaths, and criminals because behaviors are nothing but personal choice (choices evidently made for no reasons at all) and therefore, all choices being equal, there is no such thing as evil or its corollary things that are good.

  57. @Talha

    Thank the Arabs!

    Also, what happened to them? How come those in SSA cannot do what they supposedly did in the past?

    • Replies: @Talha
  58. mtn cur says:

    With a time machine, you could explain this to the poor anglo Saxons who tangled with Shaka Zulus corps and regimental system and their buffalo horn phalanx.

  59. Rehmat says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    Your dumb whitewashing makes me laugh, dude.

    Have you any proof that your so-called ‘heretic’ Catholic don’t accept Pope Francis as their Lord’s representative on Earth?

    Evangelists are neither Catholics, Protestants or Christians – they’re just pro-Israel Zionist fools. Take for example, TV-evangelist Rev. Pat Robertson, who in 2002 had claimed that Anti-Christ would be JEWISH. In 2009, on the 700 Club denounced Islam by saying: “Not a religion, but a violent political system, wants adherents treated like communists”. In 2011, Pat Robertson, a bible-babbler, showed the other side of Christian mercy for the sick and poor. When asked what a man should do whose wife has Alzheimer’s, an increasingly decrepit Pat Robertson says, “I know it sounds cruel but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over.” Watch the video below.

  60. Rehmat says:

    A true religion shows mankind how to live in peace with God’s all creations and environment. Ideologies like Paganism, Communism, Nazism, Zionism, Socialism, Marxism, Democracy, Secularism, etc. etc. are all man-made and have nothing to do the Divine laws.

    However, there are many intellectuals who apply religion to make some man-made ideologies to make them kosher. For example, in 2014, US Jewish author and peace activist Phil Wilayto in a recent interview with IRNA said that the legacy of the leader of 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Imam Khomeini was to fight against western imperialism, colonialism and human rights abuses – and establish unity among Muslims around the world.

    “Imam Khomeini was the leader of the last popular revolution of the century which has influenced other regional nations for its peaceful and nonviolent manner,” said Wilayto.

    Wilayto hailed the peaceful conduct of the Islamic Revolution saying it posed a big challenge to international hegemonic powers, particularly the United States…

  61. Talha says:

    Very good question RR88,

    In essence, my reading of history has been that though they were studying even such things as mathematics, logic and medicine in places like Sankore – foreign invasions dealt them blows from which they have never recovered; the French being the last of those invaders.

    Though excellent efforts were made at revival by men like Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba (may God grant him a high station) in instilling people with a solid work ethic (which survives to this day as can be seen in the economic power and influence of the Muridiyya Order in Senegal which traces roots back to him) they have never recovered their trajectory.

    Some people and cultures have a better and quicker recovery capability than others. Compare our current example to the recovery of the Persians after the Mongol invasions. This was also evidenced in the statement of the companion Amr ibn al-Aas (may God be pleased with him) when speaking about the Romans (which is what the Arabs called the Europeans): “They have four particular good qualities: They are the most calm and patient people in the face of trials and tribulations. They restore themselves to their senses after calamity. They attack again after retreat. They are good to the needy, the orphans and the weak. A fifth good quality in them is that they do not stand for the oppression of tyrants.” Amr (ra) had met the Romans in pitched battle and expelled their army from Egypt so he was well aware of their culture and traits.

    Unfortunately corruption is rampant in much of that part of the world and lack of rule of law. My personal assessment is that the nation-state model (produced in Europe by trial and error) does not work well for them – some other organizing structure may suit them much better. That still does not mean they will magically become like European nation-states; nor is that the end goal. I would say it will lead to a more stable and prosperous society under terms they define. There is also the woeful spread of Takfiri extremists (stealing off with girls and butchering entire villages) challenging the generally cool-headed spiritual Islam of the Sufi Orders and Maliki School – this must be excised.

    I can only speak to the area of Sub-Saharan West Africa, as I have studied it. The rest of Africa, like the Congo, Zaire, etc. are truly mysteries to me.

    May God preserve you and yours.

    • Replies: @Wally
  62. @Seraphim

    Both are theistic, never interested me aside from the amusing notion of Haile Selassi as “god”. Besides, both voodoo and rastafarianism are Afro-centered religions and my nominal adherence to Christianity is because it’s a Western civilization religion.

  63. @Brás Cubas

    Faulty syllogistic logic.

    • Replies: @Brás Cubas
  64. @Jus' Sayin'...

    I live in South America, have done for many years, traveled widely throughout much of it and am bilingual (Spanish). Stating that “the majority of Latin American “Catholics” many of whom are more into various syncretistic religions like Santeria, Voodoo, etc., than they are into orthodox Catholicism” is wildly exaggerated. Both Santería and Voodoo are Caribbean in origin and both are Afro-centric. In Brazil, “voodoo” has a variant called “Candomblé”. Like Santeria, it is syncretic with Catholicism, as is Umbanda, another Brazilian sect. In most of South America, none of these sects has any presence.

  65. Wally says: • Website

    What silly nonsense.

    Where are the great architectural works for everyone to view?
    Where is the great literary works to read?
    Where are the mathematical studies to delve into?

    A couple of mud structures is not a ‘great civilization’ or ’empire’. Yes, they did have primitive ritual masks. How pathetic.

    You cite nothing more than leftist PC fantasies.

    • Replies: @Talha
  66. Wally says: • Website

    National Geographic ain’t what it used to be. National Jewographic is more like it.

    All continents, regions, countries have been invaded and ultimately did just fine.

    Let’s be honest. Africa has been and always will be a third world sewer. They were much better off with the European presence. A blind man can see that.

    • Agree: RaceRealist88
  67. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I’m sorry, but the Quinisext Council is NOT accepted by the Roman Catholic Church. While normally I would not care about such details, your entire argument is about the life-and-death importance of such theological matters.

    Please see and the authorities cited therein.

  68. @Seraphim

    Not only emperors appointed key orthodox clergymen like the patriarchs, they supervised Church Councils and interfered in matters of doctrine choosing sides and punishing pagans, schismatics and heretics.
    Orthodox church ceilings are dominated by an image of Christ Pantocrator (the Almighty) connecting faith with imperial imagery.
    The emperor, his family and his court were earthly counterparts of the heavenly kingdom that had Christ as emperor, and Mary, the saints and the martyrs as his court.

  69. Talha says:

    They have been exhibited in the Library of Congress for one:

    And other museums over the world. You want to deny facts, that’s your business.

    I personally met a scholar from West Africa that was raising funds to restore the manuscripts in the libraries and keep them from being sold to private collectors or museums.

    This is a nice engraving of Timbuktu, circa mid 1800s:

    Here is a picture of the great mosque:

    Does it match a Gothic cathedral in grandness? No, but it has its unique indigenous touch.

    Africa has been and always will be a third world sewer.

    There is no doubt that these places are primitive compared to Western first world standards, but so what? Has anyone asked them if they want to live like first worlders? I know people from the West that have traveled into the remote areas to study with the scholars there (some of them actually moved away from the cities on purpose) – some of them are unmatched in their knowledge of the Maliki school of jurisprudence and their piety and character is magnificent. A visitor, that I know, once reported back that a lot of their condition is self-imposed – they are quite content to lead simple lives, forgoing their own comforts to help others, study sacred works, spiritually cleanse their souls and be in constant remembrance of their Creator.

    If your only gauge is material progress, you should just turn and walk away – nothing to see here. I remember seeing a video of young Wolof men (late teens, early twenties) gathered around their teacher of 80 years with respect and humility, reciting their lessons from memory while he would correct mistakes or expound on details. Some people will appreciate that this scene just does not exist in the West (like the author of the above article) and some people could care less. It is quite irrelevant if you appreciate their humanity or not – people will still travel to learn at their feet and gain from their wisdom and expansive spirit.


    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
  70. Mainline Protestants and Catholics regard themselves as too sophisticated, educated, and aloof, to literally believe in God and Jesus. They just value the abstract “essence” of that stuff, so it can be used to serve secular causes like “gay marriage”.

    • Agree: edNels
  71. Seraphim says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    It was not my intention to give a course of Byzantine history (Byzantinology is an arduous discipline). But yes, Iconoclasm was an attempt of the State to subordinate the Church. Monophysitism was a form of nationalism wrapped in religious verbiage, ready to sacrifice the unity of the Church for their petty formulations (which they recognize ‘in petto’ as being wrong), shrewdly exploited by the Judeo-Muslim alliance which swamped Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia and North Africa.

  72. Seraphim says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    You probably know that during Diocletian’s persecution (303-311) Roman authorities, in their campaign to confiscate Christian property, included the requirement that Christian books be handed in and burned. In the words of Eusebius, “We saw with our very eyes … the inspired and sacred scriptures committed to the flames in the marketplaces” in response to the imperial letter “ordering the destruction by fire of the scriptures” (Hist. eccl. 8.2.l and 4). The Emperor Constantine ordered and financed the multiplication of copies of scriptures. Certain texts have been re-composed from memory, and that’s why some of them have been regarded with some suspicion. The Canons of the Apostle form the last chapter of the “Apostolic Constitutions” and are the part which has never been contested.

  73. Sockpuppet says: • Website

    “Timbuktu was a major center of learning…..”

    So is kindergarten.

    “…..and commerce since medieval times”

    It was Arabs and Europeans that were conducting the commerce, not the Africans.

    “…..they were writing in Arabic”

    They were writing in Arabic because they didn’t have a written language of their own.

    • Replies: @Talha
  74. edNels [AKA "geoshmoe"] says:

    well just: Thank you Mr. Saker for this outstanding essay/come book.
    Which I mean: you might take this essay/outline and put in some… sketches/visual art and photos, and publish this as a book.

    I wonder what the % of the population in the aggregate..that do ever concider these things?

    my suspicion is that less than… say about 10%. it isn’t much more or less… maybe much less… OK!

    I don’t think that too many people are into these issues… nor could they ever be, as they don’t possess requisite intel, nor compassion…

    I like the concept that religeon has a place…. does it Ever! and that… etc. etc. etc….

    I read it through… and to me the most important point, is: that Man made God in his Image, as reciprocal of: the obverse: man creates god….
    God made man in his image”… that was pretty cool.

    God Made Man In His Image…. and subsequently… Man figured out a way to turn that to: God is an image that is human like… maybe sporting a Santa Clause White Beard, with a voice like thunder, like the black guy in the insurance commercial…

    But seriously, make it a book.

  75. Seraphim says:

    @More than 90% of Christian theologians are of the opinion that Christ was hanged from a tree

    Where did you get the 90% from?

  76. @Talha

    Is the phrase you intended to use, Could care less or Couldn’t care less? The difference is significant.

    Kind regards

    • Replies: @Talha
  77. TWS says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    Because today it takes courage to say you believe in nothing.

  78. Talha says:

    Dear NtD,

    Thanks for the correction, friend. Yes, it should be “couldn’t”.

    I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up with this exchange; it seems I am being asked by people to conform to their idea that Sub-Saharan West Africans were knuckle-dragging chimps until Europeans arrived. Somehow historical evidence to the contrary is seen as some left-wing conspiracy.

    May God preserve you and yours.

    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
  79. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Inca Empire also existed, but unlike those African Empires they did left something behind them: wonders that even today inspire awe and admiration, most noticeable of which is of course Machu Picchu ( Africans on the other hand left slums made of mud and straw as witnesses of their “great civilizations” behind them (you can acquaint yourself with “the great wonder” of African engineering: behold Tomb of Askia! There were always places of learning everywhere in the world, yo must have heard of temples which have always been known as the place of leanings. And centers of African empires did indeed gather merchants and scholars, but they weren’t Africans. They were Arabs, Jews and others…

    “At its peak, the Songhai city of Timbuktu became a thriving cultural and commercial center. Arab, Italian, and Jewish merchants all gathered for trade. A revival of Islamic scholarship also took place at the university in Timbuktu.”

    … which is expected after all. And those scholars did leave behind them manuscripts and other documents as the proof of their labor, but they were in Arabic, and Arabic is not African ( You can say that for those norther sub-Saharan Africans who were in the contact with the Arabs had known a writing (Arabic) prior to turning to European writing and languages sometime before 18th century, but those southern ones have never known any writing before the arrival of the white European men. And do they show gratitude to us for teaching and sharing with them our own culture? No. Parasites have no gratitude, and neither do animals. You should check your mental state before trying to dispute the obvious.

    • Replies: @Talha
  80. Seraphim says:

    It takes an enormous courage to say you believe that the ‘Holocaust’ was nothing. I am sure that not even you can muster enough courage for that.

    • Replies: @Art
  81. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    You are wrong. According to scientific studies, European white men share 99.6% genome code with the sub-Saharan Africans. Only 0.4% has created such a massive difference in cultural achievements. And according to the same scientific studies you share 98.8% genome code with the chimpanzees. How about that? Well, I guess we could hire some “experts” or “renowned scientists” to come up with the different studies, like the Jews have done with theirs: that Turkic Khazars were Semites. What is good for the Jews, should be good for ghoyim too.

  82. Talha says:

    So is kindergarten.

    So is Oxford.

    It was Arabs and Europeans that were conducting the commerce, not the Africans.

    No, the Europeans didn’t arrive en masse until the 19th century. This is well documented:

    There were Europeans trading along the coast of West Africa around the 1500’s (which incidentally led to the decline of centers like Timbuktu), but not inland.

    Please prove otherwise.

    As far as the Arabs, yes they were trading with the indigenous people there. Apparently you have never heard of Mansa Musa, please start there:

    To establish a center of commerce you have to have rule of law in the marketplace or nobody comes to participate. Or maybe you think Arabs came there to trade with one another while Africans watched.

    They were writing in Arabic because they didn’t have a written language of their own.

    Correct. The vast majority of languages (even today) have never made the jump from oral to written. And the minority that have usually borrow an established script. We’ll stick to one West African language (Wolof) to illustrate. The people used Arabic letters as a phonetic script to write Wolofal ( Arabic served as a companion language primarily for learning, administration, knowledge exchange (with the outside world). Latin (for obvious reasons) served the same function for the languages of Western Europe – can you think of one not written with Latin letters? When Sir Isaac Newton wanted to publish his findings, he wrote “Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica” in Latin precisely because he wanted others to read and evaluate it. Arabic was the lingua franca of that part of the world. And people have even been known to switch scripts as the Turks did from Arabic to Latin.

    Not sure where all this went off track…my only intention was to counter the post that claimed that Sub-Saharan Africans “did not form any culture or civilization ever” and were illiterate until Europeans came. That is historically just not true. The only thing one could possibly argue is the one about ‘civilization’ – and that seems to be subjective and depends on one’s criteria.


  83. Che Guava says:
    @Che Guava

    What a mess I made of that post! Accidentally hit the post button twice, did post a corrected version, but that seems to have vanished. It would be nice to have an ‘edit’ button, but can see why it is better not to have one.

    My points: Gnostics were far more heterodox than Arians.

    Marcion is considered a gnostic, but that is only true in the limited sense that he believed in a dualism, in which the OT god was below the god who sent Chrestos to the world, and a little insane.

    Hence, Marcion’s canon consisted of Luke, without the nativity parts, and all but one of the epistles ascribed to Paul, without the OT references, which in my view are more likely later interpolations than things Marcion cut. Since Marcion assembled his NT canon before any other, one may suspect that they are closer to the originals, particularly in the case of the epistles.

    Some of the Marcionite epistles and most of Luke have been reconstructed by serious scholars, mainly on the basis of Tertullian’s Anti-Marcion.

    They are available on the Internet, and in the cases of the epistles, they make more sense and are even more beautiful than the versions that have come down to us.

    Tertullian himself is considered heretical by the Catholic Church, as is Irenaeus, the next after Marcion to assemble an NT canon, as are several other church fathers of the time.

    The Marcionite Church lasted for centuries.

    The real Gnosticism flowing from the teachings of Basilides and Valentinus became a mashup of neo-Platonism and an idea of spheres of reality, almost certainly imbibed from Buddhist teaching of the time. Christian figures such as Chrestos, St. Sophia, and others feature prominently, but they are among a cast of many, and the mature form is in no way related to Christianity.

    One of many things I appreciate about the eastern traditions is the emphasis on the full humanity and human experience of Christ, alongside divinity. The western traditions seem to have a more lop-sided view of that.

    • Replies: @DaveE
  84. Talha says:

    “great civilizations”

    Show me where I used that term – it’s a straw man. I only commented to show historical evidence to refute the absolutist claim that Sub-Saharan Africans “did not form any culture or civilization ever” and were illiterate until Europeans came. One can have civilization without grand edifices. As a simple example, Imam Malik (God grant him a high rank) was a scholar of the highest rank in Madinah (a city which was not unlike the simple mud structures of Africa at the time) in the 8th century, yet scholars from major built-up cities of Persia, the Levant and as far as Andalusia came to seek knowledge at his feet and take it back to their people. Does that meet your criteria for civilization, maybe not, but it is irrelevant to the people with different priorities.

    And those scholars did leave behind them manuscripts and other documents as the proof of their labor, but they were in Arabic, and Arabic is not African.

    See post #87 for why all documents were in Arabic. It is the same reason why ethnic Visigoth monks were studying and writing in Latin. The initial seed of scholarship was indeed from the Arabs. The elites of these African kingdoms who became Muslim due to Muslim merchants saw what knowledge the Muslim world had to offer when they traveled through places like Alexandria and other cities. They were intelligent enough to invite scholars from places like Morocco, Egypt and even Andalusia to come and teach them. All of the learning was in Arabic and continued to be so even when the ethnic Wolof, Fulani, etc. took it over. It (Islamic knowledge – specifically of the Maliki school) continues, to this day, in the medium of Arabic by those indigenous people.

    but those southern ones have never known any writing before the arrival of the white European men

    Read my post, I never claimed to speak about anything other than Sub-Saharan West Africa since I have only studied that area. Central Africa and the South are black boxes to me so I cannot speak for them. I can say, the differences in the cultures seem to be stark; for instance Senegal (in which the Muridiyya brotherhood has a large presence and active influence) is heads above fellow countries in dealing with corruption and is ranked with Italy in the index:

    And do they show gratitude to us for teaching and sharing with them our own culture? No.

    Again, I can only speak to the area I do know of. The people there (that I have come across) are very grateful for the Muslim (Arabs and others) scholars that spread both religion and learning and literacy through their people. They still have chains of transmission for books and hadith that pass through those initial seed scholars. And now some Arabs actually travel to them for learning (again Maliki jurisprudence). I can only speculate, but perhaps that would have been the case in the southern parts of Africa had the Europeans arrived without all that gun powder.

    You should check your mental state before trying to dispute the obvious.

    And the ad hominem begins. Since I have been taught not to respond in kind and don’t feel like being a punching bag for insults, I will bow out. If you want to continue conversation in a civil manner, I am open to it. Otherwise, good day.

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  85. @TWS

    Gah-ah-ah-lee! How kin a country bumpkin lak me evah compete with brilliant theologists lak yo’sef? Lordamercy! Y’all bins lak lightning bolts of ejamacation and pure wit.

  86. schmenz says:

    A little Catholic history that is both honest and historical, which may counteract some of the flights of fancy I’ve been reading here:

  87. Che Guava says:

    The vaunted high level of ‘knowledge’ in early Islam is entirely based on conquest of Eastern Roman and Persian territories, and enslavement plus forced conversion of scholars.


    Sure, there were a few later achievements in observational astronomy (very mixed up with astrology, too), but the bulk was stolen.

    Thanks to Islamic destruction, much was lost, the Kythera mechanism just one example of the very high level of the eastern empire, which would not be matched until astrolabes and clockmakers in western Europe in much later times.

    Sure, there was a brief golden age in the late eighth to early tenth centuries, but it was almost entirely based on rapine and theft.

    • Replies: @Talha
  88. DaveE says:
    @Che Guava

    “One of many things I appreciate about the eastern traditions is the emphasis on the full humanity and human experience of Christ, alongside divinity. The western traditions seem to have a more lop-sided view of that.”

    It all started with Saul of Tarsus, the first damage-control agent of Organized Jewry.

    Saul was lipstick on a pig. He said a lot of great things, but the underlining ideology of “chosen-ness” and exceptionalism was expanded and reinforced. He said that Jews were still at the top of the food chain, as long as they were what are now called “Judeo-Christians”.

    Along with a lot of ridiculous nonsense about falling off his horse and waking up a different person. But anyway, the job was done and the Jews were right all along.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  89. @Anonymous

    You are NOT misunderstanding.

  90. Talha says:
    @Che Guava

    Dear Che,

    The vaunted high level of ‘knowledge’ in early Islam is entirely based on conquest of Eastern Roman and Persian territories

    Correct. The Arabs of the peninsula did not bring these already developed people any scientific enlightenment or architecture. They brought unambiguous transcendental monotheism (and attendant spiritual purification) and a message that these various people were all brothers. They were solid fighters though, as battles like Qadisiyyah proved out (which was basically a battle of attrition of will) not to mention Yarmouk.

    enslavement plus forced conversion of scholars

    Care to cite a proof? Besides the fact that rules of war specifically bar Muslims from engaging religious leaders and monks, the Prophet (pbuh) had even sent letters to specific communities as proof that they were to be left alone:

    If they would have gone after someone, target numero uno would have been John of Damascus who wrote the first academic polemic against Islam – ‘The Heresy of the Ishmaelites’. The Umayyads left him alone.

    The Nestorian Church, which fled from the Western Church’s antagonism found shelter in Persia and under the Muslims:
    “Nestorian scholars played a prominent role in the formation of Arab culture, and patriarchs occasionally gained influence with rulers. For more than three centuries the church prospered under the Caliphate, but it became worldly and lost leadership in the cultural sphere.”

    Prof. David Nicolle (arguably the most knowledgeable scholar alive of military history and tactics of the ancient and medieval world of the Muslim lands), who had no problem writing a book and titling it “Armies of Muslim Conquest” states clearly early on that forced conversion was not a policy.

    Did it happen, sure…in Jihad in Islamic History, by Michael Bonner from Princeton University Press (, he does not shy from mentioning pogroms (as in Granada in 1066) or instances of forced conversions, but I will let him speak:
    “To begin with, there was no forced conversion, no choice between ‘Islam and the sword.’ Islamic law, following a clear Quranic principle, prohibited any such thing: dhimmis must be allowed to practice their religion. When Muslim armies encountered non-Muslims outside the lands already under the rule of Islam, they were supposed to offer them the choice of conversion to Islam; payment of jizya and acceptance of dhimmi status; or trying the fortunes of war. If the
    adversaries chose the last of these three and then lost, they faced expropriation, slavery, or even death. Even then, however, they must not be converted forcibly. And in fact, although there have
    been instances of forced conversion in Islamic history, these have been exceptional.”

    Please bring proof otherwise – and please have the intellectual courtesy not to cite some self-published author or some anti-Islamic polemic site. I assume your time is valuable, as is mine.

    Thanks to Islamic destruction, much was lost

    You make it sound like the Mongol sack of Baghdad and the utter destruction of its libraries and cite one astrolabe as an example of ‘much was lost’. I’m open to the possibility, but please objective proof. I’ve read of takeovers of many major cities by the first Muslim community, but never came across a single instance of a sack. Sacking cities was quite common in that age. Can you cite a proof for a single sack of a major city within the first expansion (7th century)? I have read of sacks by Muslim Turks and Tatars, but those come centuries later.

    Sure, there was a brief golden age in the late eighth to early tenth centuries, but it was almost entirely based on rapine and theft.

    No, it was based on a simple fact that Muslims wrested political control from the Persians, Byzantines and Visigoths in places like Egypt, the Levant, Persia (and Transoxiana), Iberian peninsula, etc. Many of those places had been at war and so the passage of people and information was stymied. The level of free flow of information and travel of scholarship from the extremes of the Iberian peninsula to the inner lands of Transoxiana had never been established at that level previously in history – maybe one can argue about Alexander’s empire but it had vanished by that time and never covered that extent of area. The intellectual curiosity of the people from East to West (Muslim and not) took care of the rest.


    • Replies: @Seraphim
    , @geokat62
    , @Che Guava
  91. Rehmat says:

    “If Christianity falls Jews will rule the West.”

    Did you learned that from your priest, dude?

    Organized Jewry already rules the West including 15 EU countries and the US, and Canada.

    Pope Francis says Christ is the “common bond” between Jews and Christians”.

    Pope Francis in an open letter published by Rome’s newspaper La Repubblica on September 11, 2013, has claimed: “Christians have rediscovered that the Jewish people are the holy root from which Jesus germinated“.

    In June 2013, Francis met a 30 Jewish leaders from the International Jewish Committee. He assured them that due to their “common roots”, a Christian cannot be antisemitic. However, Vatican Radio, while relaying Francis’ address to the Jewish delegate, did not mention the Jewish leaders also promised not to insult or make fun of Jesus or Christians.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  92. Don’t be fooled by the pontifex maximus, Pope Francis…

    The goddess Venus was absorbed by missionary adaption into the Roman Catholic sacred tradition as the Virgin Mary. The adapters even ascribed to Mary the Venusian epithet ” Queen of Heaven,” a title never ascribed to Mary in the Bible. “Queen of Heaven” in Scripture names only one personage, and that is Ishtar, the Babylonian Venus. Most faithful Catholics, historically insulated from the Scriptures by the Magisterium and the Inquisition, have not known this. Jeremiah 44 explains how the Israelites violated their covenant with Yahweh by praising the Queen of Heaven, and in turn lost their dignity, their property, freedom, EVERYTHING to the Babylonians.

    The Bacchic Gospel of salvation antedates that of Jesus Christ by many, many centuries. The Bacchic Gospel was played out in the pagan cults. A Holy Virgin would ritually rescue the Son of God’s Sacred Heart from the slime of humanity imprisoning the Son’s soul. Each cult initiate- a fractional part of the Son’s soul- supposedly gained increasing amounts of knowledge from mind- altering substances and sexual ecstasy administered for money, of course, by the temple priests and priestesses. The initiate looked forward to being released from his slimy humanity by ever- increasing knowledge. He yearned to be ultimately with the Sacred Heart in Heaven, resurrected and transfigured for all eternity.

    This salvational plan, or some variation of it, can be found at the core of all the secret or mystery “religions”- CULTS OF EMPIRE. It persists from the earliest Babylonian prototype right on down through the Great Seal of the U.S.A. It has succeeded not because it calls for the repentance from sin, but because it makes sin an asset in a process of self- deification. The Bacchic Gospel serves an economy of sin management, in which sins are forgiven upon the payment of money or performance of some act of contrition valuable to society. It is about people control. Because it prospers on the addictive nature of fornication and mind- altering substances, it naturally facilitates sex and booze and drugs and all their destructive fallout in order to have a context to make itself useful. Unlike the Christian Gospel, which conditions forgiveness of sins upon REPENTANCE- “and if he repents, forgive him” [ Luke 17:3]- the Bacchic Gospel forgives upon the rendering of appropriate sacrifices to the priest of the appropriate deity. The congeniality of this gospel to secular government and Roman Catholicism speaks for itself.

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  93. Seraphim says:

    The truth is that all the peddlers of the “Paul agent of Organized Jewry” stuff are the ones who fell on their heads and started raving. All that stuff borders on either insanity or imbecility.

  94. Seraphim says:

    @“Christians have rediscovered that the Jewish people are the holy root from which Jesus germinated“

    The “Black Pope” (who in good Jesuitic traditions of deception dresses only in white) completely turned on its head the symbolism of the “roots”, “branches”, “fruits” used by Jesus.
    Christ is the root! The Jews are the fig tree “dried up to the roots”. This is how it was understood in 2000 years of Christianity. The Pope is proclaiming (again) ‘urbi et orbi’ his apostasy. He is the fruitless branch. He who proclaim that he is the only one to know what God wants, should beware, he was warned!

    18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. 22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21, 18-22)

    11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve. 12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: 13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. 15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. 17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. 18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. 19 And when even was come, he went out of the city. 20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. 22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” (Mark 11, 11-23)

    “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15, 1-7)

  95. Seraphim says:

    @If they would have gone after someone, target numero uno would have been John of Damascus who wrote the first academic polemic against Islam – ‘The Heresy of the Ishmaelites’. The Umayyads left him alone.

    They left him alone after they cut his right hand and hung up in public view for precisely for what he was writing!
    Or, perhaps after that John asked for the restitution of his hand, and prayed fervently to the Mother of God before her icon: thereupon, his hand is said to have been miraculously restored*. The Ummayads were certainly not immune to superstition, so they thought that it is wiser not to push it further. But couldn’t stay quiet for too long. Retaliation against clergy instigating Christian-Islamic apologetic dialogues resumed in 743, the Khalif Walid cut off the tongue of Peter, metropolitan of Damascus, and banished him to Arabia Felix for challenging Islamic ideology. Peter, bishop of Majuma, suffered decapitation at the same time, for inviting the Arab elites to criticize the pseudo-Prophet and believe in the Trinity.
    *In honor of that healing, the Saint made a silver votive offering in the shape of a hand and placed it on the icon in such a way that it appears that the Virgin Mary has a third hand. Until the 12th century, the icon was kept at the lavra of St. Sabbas. It was given to St. Sabbas, Archbishop of Serbia, and founder of the monastery of Chilandri, during a visit to the Holy Land and now is in the Monastery of Chilandari on the Holy Mountain of Athos.

    • Replies: @Talha
    , @Talha
  96. Seraphim says:

    We are still waiting for an answer to the question where did you get the figure of “90% of Christian theologians”.
    The enormity of such an assertion requires a proof. Or you just made it up? If that is the case then you should be aware that nobody can take seriously anything you say and it would be better off to not wasting your time in uttering nonsense, and ours sparing us the pain of reading it.

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  97. @Talha

    Dear Talha,

    I honestly haven’t followed much at all on this thread, I just popped in for a quick squint, left you that message due to a prior exchange we’d had and promptly exited. I find arguing about religion with religious people is usually pointless. I did just reread The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail, which opened me up to a totally new understanding of western history. I passed it on to a muslim friend I had met while in India recently.

    I do commend those who seek to keep alive the wisdom of the early Christian church and despair at the intellectual laziness of the followers of modern Christianity Inc.

    Reading The House of Wisdom gave me valuable insights as to the massive contributions of knowledge and philosophy to the west by Islam.

    I was just wondering whatever happened to religion in America after being literally reduced to tears while watching this short video. The article makes a strong point too.

    I don’t think we are capable of much of a true understanding of God but do believe that the power that created me also created everything else and that our “society” is not so great compared to some that have existed previously. The more we learn the more we understand how little we know.


    • Replies: @Seraphim
    , @Talha
    , @Talha
  98. Talha says:

    Dear Seraphim,

    That is interesting. I have read about the account if John’s hand being cut but the motive I read about was political. Basically a person within the church was jealous of John’s position as the patriarch of the Orthodox community so he made up tales about John as a threat to the Umayyad’s power – thus the hand incident. I will try to find my reference. Will have to wait though until Sunday as I’m at a retreat.

    May God preserve you and yours.

  99. Seraphim says:

    @reread The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail, which opened me up to a totally new understanding of western history

    When this opening occurred? Back in the ’80s or recently, when the initially little shit it was then, grew up into the mountain of shit it is today (helped by the ‘Da Vinci Code’ scam).
    I guess that the fact that the “massive contributions of knowledge and philosophy to the west by Islam” consisted mainly in translations of Greek books of science and philosophy (known in the “backward” West at the same time) does not trouble you, as it does not trouble those who still believe that European science is the product of Islam.

    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
  100. geokat62 says:

    Besides the fact that rules of war specifically bar Muslims from engaging religious leaders and monks,

    I guess these rules of war were not strictly observed by all Muslims:

    Under the Ottoman Empire the Christians suffered a steady decline. Forced conversions to Islam, the abduction of children to serve in the fanatical Janissary corps, persecutions and oppression reduced the Christian population. Oppression intensified, leading to Genocide. Christian clergy were a constant target of Turkish persecution, particularly once the 1894 policy of Armenian genocide had been declared by sultan Abdul Hamid.

    Victims of horrible torture, many Orthodox clergy were martyred for their faith. Among the first was Metropolitan Chrysostomos who was martyred, not just to kill a man but, to insult a sacred religion and an ancient and honorable people. Chrysostomos was enthroned as Metropolitan of Smyrna on 10 May 1910. Metropolitan Chrysostomos courageously opposed the anti Christian rage of the turks and sought to raise international pressure against the persecution of Turkish Christians. He wrote many letters to European leaders and to the western press in an effort to expose the genocide policies of the Turks. In 1922, in unprotected Smyrna, Chrysostomos said to those begging him to flee: “It is the tradition of the Greek Church and the duty of the priest to stay with his congregation.”

    On 9 September crowds were rushing into the cathedral for shelter when Chrysostomos, pale from fasting and lack of sleep, led his last prayer. The Divine Liturgy ended as Turkish police came to the church and led Chrysostomos away. The Turkish General Nouredin Pasha, known as the “butcher of Ionia”, first spat on the Metropolitan and informed him that a tribunal in Angora (now Ankara) had already condemned him to death. A mob fell upon Chrysostomos and tore out his eyes. Bleeding profusely, he was dragged through the streets by his beard. He was beaten and kicked and parts of his body were cut off. All the while Chrysostomos, his face covered with blood, prayed: “Holy Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Every now and then, when he had the strength, he would raise his hand and bless his persecutors; a Turk, realizing what the Metropolitan was doing, cut off his hand with a sword. Metropolitan Chrysostomos was then hacked to pieced by the angry mob.

    Among the hundreds of Armenian clergy who were persecuted and murdered were Bishop Khosrov Behrigian and Very Reverend Father Mgrdich’ Chghladian.

    Bishop Behrigian (1869-1915) was born in Zara and became the primate for the Diocese of Caesarea/Kayseri in 1915. He was arrested by Turkish police upon his return from Etchmiadzin where he had just been consecrated bishop. Informed of his fate, the bishop asked for a bullet to the head. Deliberately ignoring his request, the police tied him to a “yataghan” where sheep were butchered an then proceeded to hack his body apart while he was still alive.

    Father Chghladian was born in Tatvan. In May 1915, as part of the campaign of mass arrests, deportations and murders, the priest was tortured and displayed in a procession, led by sheiks and dervishes while accompanied by drums, through the streets of Dikranagerd. Once the procession returned to the mosque, in the presence of government officials, the sheiks poured oil over the priest and burned him alive.

    Four of the martyred bishops who were murdered between 1921-1922 are today elevated to sainthood in the Greek Orthodox Church: They are, in addition to Metropolitan Chrysostomos, Bishops Efthimios, Gregorios and Ambrosios.

    Bishop Efthimios of Amasia was captured by the Turkish police and tortured daily for 41 days. In the last days of his life he chanted his own funeral memorial until finally dying in his cell on 29 May 1921. Three days later a written order for his execution arrived from Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk).

    Metropolitan Gregorios of Kydonion remained with his church until the end, helping 20,000 of his 35,000 parishioners escape to Mytilene and other free parts of Greece. On 3 October 1922, the remaining 15,000 Orthodox Christians were executed; the Metropolitan was saved in order to be buried alive.

    Metropolitan Ambrosios of Moshonesion, along with 12 priests and 6,000 Christians, were sent by the Turks on a forced deportation march to Central Asia Minor. All of them perished on the road, some slain by Turkish irregulars and civilians, the remainder left to die of starvation. Bishop Ambrosios died on 15 September 1922 when Turkish police nailed horseshoes to his feet and then cut his body into pieces.

    • Replies: @Talha
  101. Talha says:

    Dear Geo,

    As I mentioned, the Muslim Turks were known to sack cities and fight more like Turks than Muslims. Though they had great showings also where they fought bravely and honorably, usually in pitched battles without cities involved, like Manzikert. I’m completely aware of the crimes of the secular nationalist Young Turks.

    If you want the ‘good’ stuff, look up the actions of the armies of Tamerlane – neither Muslims nor non-Muslims fared well.

    Rest assured not even the greatest of emperors will escape their crimes on that Day.

    May God hold our hands back from oppressing others.

  102. windy says:

    having grown up in an Irish family half green and half orange I agree

  103. Che Guava says:

    There is no reason to make a reply in detail, since you have your timeline completely wrong.

    The Nestorians were indeed established in lands that were early conquests by the soldiers of Muhammed (cursed be his name, after all, his life was one of violence, insanity, exploitation of others, and illiteracy, I can never see how in any sense he may have been ‘holy’), but the Nestorians continued, establishing communities in the east, India, China.

    The Marcionite Church, well established in Syria in particular, was likely wiped out but no doubt had an effect on the Christian communities in the Middle East, now being rapidly wiped out. Of course, most (including the clergy) have little idea of what their founders believed that differed from orthodox beliefs.

    So, the demonic and illiterate Muhammed is somehow a holy man?

    Sure, he set up a very effective system of rape, theft, and pillage. That is all.

  104. Art says:

    It takes an enormous courage to say you believe that the ‘Holocaust’ was nothing. I am sure that not even you can muster enough courage for that.

    Big Jew bankers and their austerity program for Germany after WWI, brought on Nazi Germany.

    You reap what you sow.

    p.s. The Six Million Lie is now causing more death then the number of Jews who died at the hands of Nazis. The number is growing by the day.

  105. Talha says:

    The details and citation of sources is for anyone observing this thread with an objective point of view.

    If my timeline is incorrect – feel free to cite sources to refute.

    As for the other comments…I continue to be amazed at the conduct of people who may well be able to recite the Sermon on the Mount from memory but seem not to have internalized it’s words.

    Watch this thread, it starts from me refuting (with evidence) an absolutist statement regarding the complete lack of culture and literacy among the Sub-Saharan Africans before Europeans arrive until it gets to the point of people throwing invective at me and my religion. That’s cool though, invite to your way as you see fit.


  106. Talha says:

    Dear NtD,

    I do commend those who seek to keep alive the wisdom of the early Christian church and despair at the intellectual laziness of the followers of modern Christianity Inc


    This is a very interesting read:

    Besides the economic aspects which I know you are interested in, it shows documented evidence of the attempts of the Caroligian Frankish kingdom and the Abassids at diplomatic relations and even an alliance/treaty. Very interesting indeed…

    The more we learn the more we understand how little we know

    That is the sign post that shows one is treading the path of knowledge – its opposite is compound ignorance; one does not know how little one does not know.

    Wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

    • Replies: @Art
    , @Talha
  107. Art says:

    Talha — Walaikum assalam — Art

    • Replies: @Talha
  108. Joe Mack says:

    I tried to explain the controversy about the filoque to confirmed Lutheran high school students in my Sunday School class. They could not understand what the fuss was about.
    We have raised a generation of idiots, who do not even understand how ignorant they are.
    I am guessing the Islamists or Chinese who will rule them will school them.

  109. @Seraphim

    Thanks for taking the trouble to reply. I first read the book many, many years ago. I cannot remember exactly when. There’s an awful lot of information in there so I came across another copy recently and re-read it. It’s very likely that some of that information is correct and some is not, I don’t know. It would be silly to bring up the Da Vinci Code in any way except to say that it was inspired by the non-fiction book mentioned.

    Certainly a lot of information that is accepted as history and presented as true historical fact is clearly false so it makes sense to read and learn from different sources and try to use common sense to work out what does make sense. As Judge Judy says, If it doesn’t make sense it’s nonsense.

    Knowledge “died” in the west after the fall of the Roman Empire, hence the term The Dark Ages. The arabs brought much knowledge to the west afterwards to our great benefit.

    I have said previously in posts here that there are good and bad amongst all people and it’s true, including muslims. Didn’t Saladin spare the innocent while the “Christian” Crusaders killed everyone they could? It makes no sense to hate Islam and muslims just for being that and anyway, you play right into your real enemies’ hands when you do. It’s worth bearing in mind that the very worst of the present day Islamic world are puppets of the west, KSA comes to mind.

    Our friend Talha is intelligent, well educated and very respectful of all of those with whom he engages in discussion with. He adds value to The Unz Review and I appreciate and respect that. Cheers.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
    , @rod1963
  110. Maldivi says:
    @joe webb

    I wonder who let you out of your cage? Bad mistake! Now, that you had your mouth diarrhea, I hope you are safely locked back in cage!

  111. Talha says:

    Dear Art,

    And may God grant you peace as well.

    Do not worry – it is a testament to the immense love God has for our liege lord, the Son of Mary (pbuh), that – no matter what any Christian has ever done or may ever do – He has prohibited any bitterness in the hearts of the Muslims towards him (pbuh) or our laying any blame at his blesssed feet. They could literally eat our children in front of us and we will never stop calling him ‘Sayyiduna’ (‘Our Master’) or ever stop saying a prayer when mentioning his name.

    May God grant you honor in this world and the next.

  112. Talha says:

    A correction – before NtD calls me out on it 🙂

    Should be – “…one does not know how little one actually knows.”

  113. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “What religion is not” i.e. apophatic approach, seems to have sprung a leak, specifically in the unqualified reference to “Original Christianity” as being somehow “True.” This projection of wishful thinking into history is vague, to the point of being meaningless.

    As mainstream Christianity in the 4th century became an adjunct of the Roman state, it receive state funding, and was ordered and organized into Roman administrative structures (dioceses, for example). As church norms were standardized, made orthodox, so came the suppression of heterodoxy. Within a generation, many Christians went from being persecuted, tortured and killed by the Roman state, to being the ones carrying out those same atrocities on behalf of the Roman state, against hapless (newly anathemized) heterodox Christians. Which of the many was the “True Christianity”? (Needless to say, maybe, as history is written by the victors, the losers get literally and figuratively rubbed out.)

    Very little of what you write relates to what is known of the early Christians, but rather imagines a “golden age” a projection of a fabled past. Such canned vaguery is all the more pernicious for being at once anti-intellectual, and anti-mystical… the worst of both “lungs” as it were.

  114. Seraphim says:

    I will never cease wondering how people believe about themselves that there are the only ones in possession of the ‘common sense’. Because it is actually nonsense to discard proven information (the one that inspired by your ‘common sense’ declare ” clearly false” – the Christian Scriptures and tradition) and learn from other sources ‘what makes sense’ (to confirm your own biases), in other words, to disprove the Christian Scriptures and tradition. In that case the Koran and the myths it generated (like the myth of the ““Christian” Crusaders killed everyone they could”).

    • Replies: @Talha
  115. monnalisa says:

    Generally speaking:

    In my opinion too less has been disputed the fact that the speeches of Jesus weren’t written by himself. The fist written text of Jesus speeches/lectures started far too many years after his so-called death. Other texts could have been written between 40/70 AD until 180 AD according to philologists. Therefore, to claim this or that had been said by Jesus is somehow blasphemic as it lacks profound proof.
    The same goes to his life. There are no records which can verify as a fact where and when he had been born and died. To my knowledge there is only one record listing which could be naming Jesus out of many from the Romans putting revolutionaries and thieves and murderers into the listings.

    It is also of great interest to see in which languages it had been written.
    Moreover, in the beginning of Christianity: it is clear that that thos early Christians wanted to believe in a happier afterlife under the prevailing circumstances at those times. Understandably, hardmanship needs some counterpart, some balance. The Roman Empire and precisely the mainland comprised of more than 50 % slaves at this time.

    Early Christians were not many. However, they refused to be soldiers which rouse the suspicion of the Roman Rulers. Only starting 325 AD this religion had spread (too many poor people!!) and therfore had been accepted. After 400 AD Christians were more incorporated as it was becoming a state-religion.

    Concerning Islam and culture in general:
    The “Western Culture” doesn’t like to accept that other cultures gave the basis for its development. But looking into history culture exchange did occur throughout former times until today.
    From Far East, China and India to Persia and Middle East and through efforts in islamic times into Europe.
    To deny that it is part of the so-called Western Culture can only function within a society where history is distorted or in other words the greater percentage of a population doesn’t know how history has to be read. And concerning Christianity: how Christianity could be spread.
    Although it is much too less regarded as a fact that the Roman-Catholic Church comprises most of the Roman Empire ideology i.e. all other cultures are “barbarians” (whereas in latin it means more foreign) – less cultured than the Romans on the mainland. This as well as the money-power-driven Roman-Catholic Church was a state imposed religion and several bloody fights took place within the rulers at this time. The Roman-Catholic Church has still these written and unwritten however visible facts of its power-money-driven “policy”.

    Concerning the colonisation which took place: Christianity had been forced on colonized countries together with its bloody brainwash, eliminating whole cultures and with it far too many scriptures (of these colonized lands, in whatever manner or on whatever material it had been inscribed etc.)

    Concerning Islamic science: there are far too many facts which come nowadays more into light. From medicine practices (hospitals in Fustat in Egypt comprised already of windows, light music and a fountain for supporting the recovery process as well as “doctors”-visits with some “students” to look after the sick so already in the 900 AD!!) until the 17th/18th century the medicine-education was based on islamic books in Europe. From algorithm in mathematics to
    chemistry (“al chemia”) to other branches.

    One of the comments here stated that “black people” have other respectively lesser brain functions then the “white race”, i.e. Caucasian. Such a statement usually comes from the “Whites” of the USA – I would say our of my experience.
    Brain functions according to circumstances and not according to skin color.
    It is totally unscientific to state such and molecular scientists would have given a hard measured answer.

    Concerning remainng artefacts out of historic times: a great play goes to the climate conditions in the different parts of our wold.
    For example in Europe slowly more artefacts of ancient times are found and with it history is permanently re-written.


  116. First of all, I have never said that I was the only one with common sense. You made that up.
    Second, many of the so called fundamentals of christianity are patently false. Immaculate conception and resurrection to start with.

    You refer to christian scriptures but whose, Paul’s? What exactly were the beliefs of JC? Was he of Nazareth (which didn’t exist at the time) or was he a Nazarene? There’s no actual proof of his existence and if if true, little was achieved. The myth is different. Much of what you refer to as scripture has been adulterated and even forged for political reasons. Much of what is genuine was written in code (Pesher) and was only meant to be taken literally by illiterate peasants.

    You seem to have studied the scriptures and good for you but I’m always a little suspicious of people who have things all worked out because they rarely have.

    I neglected to ask you which part of The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail that you felt was incorrect and took offence to, kindly enlighten me on that.

    Also are you of the opinion that anything voiced by a muslim is invalid by virtue of their faith?

    Thanks for your time, cheers.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  117. Talha says:

    I’m almost certain I misunderstand, perhaps you can clarify…

    Are you going on record as saying that the Fourth Crusade, in which Western Christians didn’t accomplish anything outside besieging and sacking two Christian cities (including the Orthodox city of Constantinople), is a historical conspiracy perpetuated by Muslims? I’m almost sure I’m not reading it right…

    Thanks in advance for your clarification.


    • Replies: @Seraphim
  118. Seraphim says:

    It seems to become a habit, but yes, you misunderstood again. You must be 100% sure you are not reading it right… simply because I did not say anything like that.
    I was responding to one of your admirers talking about the myth regurgitated repeatedly by Muslims of “Didn’t Saladin spare the innocent while the “Christian” Crusaders killed everyone they could?”, which obviously referred to the First Crusade and the supposed massacres committed in the Jerusalem.

  119. Talha says:

    It seems I had been mistaken in my details when recalling from memory. The is not the original place I had read a different account from, but here it is nonetheless. It seems this is part of the iconoclast debates. Emperor Leo could not arrest John since he was under Ummayad rule so he had to use subterfuge to get at him:

    But since the author was not a Byzantine subject, the emperor was unable to lock him up in prison, or to execute him. The emperor then resorted to slander. A forged letter to the emperor was produced, supposedly from John, in which the Damascus official was supposed to have offered his help to Leo in conquering the Syrian capital.
    This letter and another hypocritically flattering note were sent to the Saracen Caliph by Leo the Isaurian. The Caliph immediately ordered that St John be removed from his post, that his right hand be cut off, and that he be led through the city in chains.

    So it was an episode of intra-Christian divisions and the Umayyad motivation was political. Note that John was only able to write his position in the iconoclast debate without fear of imprisonment due to living under Muslim jurisdiction.


    • Replies: @Seraphim
  120. Art says:

    Some undisputable facts.

    No human that has ever lived truly knows God.

    No human alive today truly knows that Jesus Christ lived.

    Christianity is more the Jesus – it is an evolving imperfect movement of everyday people.

    Every honest human must acknowledge that Christianity has made a difference in human attainment.

    Every honest human must acknowledge that the freedom to prosper that the West enjoys flows out of Christianity.

    Not seeing the good and damming Christianity because it is imperfect – is the work of fools.

  121. rod1963 says:

    You realize the Crusades were a direct result of Muslim persecution and killing of Christian pilgrims along with the Muslim conquest of Byzantium’s Anatolian provinces which prompted their emperor to appeal to Rome for help.

    And no the Crusaders didn’t kill everybody, most of the Levant were still oppressed Christians.

    As for the siege and and capture of Jerusalem, it was bloody. BTW if you knew anything of history, the end result of most sieges were very violent affairs with much looting and death.

    When the Muslims took Constantinople in 1453, the looting went on for days and they enslaved as many as they could find.

    In regards to your silly notions of Islam, all one has to see is how they treat women and non-believers – like shit to see it’s a evil and regressive force in the world.

    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
  122. Art says:

    INDIVIDUALISM, in contrast to socialism and all other forms of totalitarianism, is based on the respect of Christianity for the individual man and the belief that it is desirable that men should be free to develop their own individual gifts and bents. This philosophy, first fully developed during the Renaissance, grew and spread into what we know as Western civilization. The general direction of social development was one of freeing the individual from the ties which bound him in feudal society. – Hayek

    • Replies: @geokat62
  123. geokat62 says:

    INDIVIDUALISM… is based on the respect of Christianity for the individual man… This philosophy, first fully developed during the Renaissance, grew and spread into what we know as Western civilization.

    Pace Hayek, while it is true that individualism grew and spread into what we know as Western civilization, he fails to go back far enough in time to identify the secular origins of this philosophy. The spirit of individualism was burning bright in Ancient Greece at least 4 centuries before the birth of Christ:

    The glorification of the human form and of human accomplishment defined ancient Greek art, philosophy, literature, and religion. Even their gods were created in the image of humans. The Greek gods had human emotions, looked like humans, and behaved more like people than infallible gods.

    The Greeks’ emphasis on the individual is one major cornerstone of Western Civilization. Indeed, the spirit of individualism as defined by the Greeks is still alive and well in modern American culture and society.

    The Greeks were the first in the West to experiment with the concept of democratic government. Many successful modern democratic governments in the world today are heirs to the Greek model.

    • Replies: @Art
  124. Art says:

    You can go back to the Persian Zoroastrianism to find the beginning of Western culture.

    There is no question, Greek culture and science is a major part of Western thought. The New testament says that Jesus went to Alexandria Egypt in his youth. Surely he was exposed to Greek culture. The early Catholic Church appropriated Greek science into its world view of God. Galileo was in trouble the Church because he questioned establish Greek science.

    With that said there is something unique about Christianity. When you refine Jesus’ words, a set of ideals comes to the fore. They are: have hope, life is sacred, seek the truth, forgive the past, extend grace to your fellow humans, love your neighbor as you love yourself. None of these ideals get in the way of a better future. These ideas form an engine of human progress.

    These ideals were sold to the masses by the elite. In everyday life, when these ideals are applied they produce a cooperative society that can produce a better life. They produce an evolving society that wants all to prosper – clearly we are not there yet – but it is coming.

    • Replies: @Talha
  125. Seraphim says:

    I must disappoint you again.
    The episode of the cut hand occurred on the background (if not directly as a result) of the violent application of the iconoclastic decree of Yazid II, which was also the inspiration for the iconoclastic decree of Leo III. It is perfectly known that both actions were inspired by the same personage, which Greek sources call Tessarakontapechys, or Beser, a Jewish magician and fortuneteller who “learning of the frivolity and unstable turn of mind” of the tyrant Ezydos, convinced him to destroy all images throughout his reign. The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor, which called him Beser, describes him as a Christian Syrian who apostatized to mahomedanism, who fled to Constantinople where he befriended the Emperor and instilled in his equally unstable mind the idea of the destruction of the icons. He is likely the author of the letters of Leo to the calif, denouncing St. John (certainly both for his writings against iconoclasm and against the heresy of the Ishmaelits – the Ummayads did not take it lightly).
    Yazid received his ‘divine punishment’ and died in two years. The report of John, the representative of the Anatolian bishops at the Second Council of Nicaea (which restored the icons), reported that the son of Yazid, Oualid, put to death the magician. Here is a confusion, Yazid was followed by his son Hisham. But Theophanes reports that “Saracen minded” Beser died in 741-3 in the war against the usurper Artabasdus, therefore closer to the reign of Walid. It is possible that Hisham stopped the persecution for a while, but Walid resumed it.
    So, it is clear that the claim that “John was only able to write his position in the iconoclast debate without fear of imprisonment due to living under Muslim jurisdiction” is not borne out by the facts.

    • Replies: @Talha
  126. @rod1963

    You seem rather angry and somewhat un-christian like. The example of muslim excesses that you cite is hundreds of years after the event that I mentioned and anyway, cruelty often begets cruelty.

    I’m not here defending Islam, it would be hard to find an individual who knows less about Islam. I am saying all followers of Islam are not evil and the worst of those that are have their equals in Christianity. I think history bears that out. The are good and bad amongst all people.

    I personally know some muslims who are good, kind people, that’s all. I don’t know about you but I live in a somewhat multicultural society. Nobody asked me if that’s what I wanted but here we are.
    It doesn’t seem very sensible to pick an argument with people unless you have good reason to.

    All religions can offer some value but more commonly are used as a means to divide. I would advise not to let yourself be an unwitting tool in the modern drama of Divide et Imperia.

  127. Seraphim says:

    It looks that this reply is addressed to me. I was about to skip it when the silliness of the introduction (many of the so called fundamentals of christianity are patently false) made me realize that it was supposed to confound me.

    1) You seem to have studied the scriptures and good for you but I’m always a little suspicious of people who have things all worked out because they rarely have.
    They have it better than the people who did not have studied the scriptures. Ignorance cannot override knowledge when you want to talk sense.

    2) I neglected to ask you which part of The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail that you felt was incorrect and took offence to, kindly enlighten me on that.
    Well, everything. This book is an offence to common sense.

    3) Also are you of the opinion that anything voiced by a muslim is invalid by virtue of their faith?

  128. monnalisa says:

    @ Art

    to read history is an extremely useful hobby.

    What you wrote above about Christianity is not in conformity with the written history nor with the experience women had since Christianity was made a state-religion in Europe as well as in the conquered lands. It was a useful tool for some kings to claim that god himself (the god is in Christianity always more male !!) did acknowledge his right.
    Christianity was the basis for the Dark Ages in Europe. This was split by more introductions within the Latin langugage but still oppressed a far too long time. A lot had been introducted through Andalous into the Europe of the Dark Ages. And it was in Britain where the revolution took place and progress was made. For this too history gives a platform.
    Christianity is the bloodiest religion on our earth – and the Vatican still has the lowest age for children: namely 12 years.
    not to speak of all the committed crimes within daily lives, etc.etc.

    Concerning Constantinople: read at first what had happened with the 4th crusade and how those people heaved …..

    And: the only country in the ancient known world was the Pharaonic Egypt were women had the same right as men i.e. to have their say at courts, equal to men, owning properties etc. etc. So far also to ancient religions.

    In Islam (not the Wahhabbism of the today spreading “Islam” through Saudi Arabia with its affiliated Western Countries because of oil!!)) women had a lot of rights which were denied to Christian women. For example: owning property, shops and being able to trade. Also in Islam the rights of women were extremely fine tuned. No men could take their property just because “a women is a women and not able to handle …”.
    In Europe even in during the first three/some countries two quarters of the 20th Century: the right of the women was to such an extrend restricted that a divorce wanted by a women was practically not possible or extremely difficult as well as the opinion that women are not able to raise their childrn if a divorce would take place such laws existed until the seventies/eighties of the last century. Also until the last century the Roman-Catholic church restricted books to be sold in shops by giving the governments its “list of forbidden books”. This ended about 1966 only.

    History is a must in order to understand our today.
    History is too a must in order to do everything to avoid such bloody colonialism which had been exercised under the banner of the god of the Roman-Catholic Church.
    And later on under the banner of “different Christian religion branches” which didn’t approve of the prevailing pressure of those times and came to conquer North America: there bloody wars had been fought with its ihabitants – not really so much difference.

    And to the ancient greeks: the interactions with the Pharaonic Egypt was on a permanent basis.
    So this is too a point to think of.
    Also ancient Greek did have only some sort of democracy not extended to women and the lower class.

    Also as the history tells us: most christian-oriented states didn’t abandon slavery for a long long time.
    Whereas in Islam people had been tought that to abandon slavery and free them would please god.
    What a difference !


  129. Che Guava says:

    Pax unto thee to, too, I am ton tired to continue. I have read accnounts of he Rape of Constantinoplsur they were ied by Ozman Turks, but it was a pattern establisied from the start.

    You sound quite reasonable, what do you think of the Saudi govt. demolishing the house of Khadija? It made me very sad, not being a Muslim, I would never have been able to go to see it, but I would prefer if I knew it was still there.

    There is a long list of sites they have been destroying, notably through their proxies in Syria and Iraq, but many in the Arabian peninsula itself: tombs, churches, mosques. I would guess that you are aware of this.

    Look at a photo of Mecca today, it looks like Islamic Disneyland, only even cheaper looking than Disneyland, and with a far higher chance of being trampled to death.

    They may as well put the image of Mickey Mouse on the giant clock tower looming over Mecca, and Mickey Mouse gloves at the ends of the clock hands.

    • Replies: @Talha
  130. Talha says:

    Dear Art,

    I have generally been a reader of Muslim history, but since it has been entwined with Western and European history, I have also come to study those as well (even took courses like Byzantine History at UCLA, etc.). Though there have been no shortage of Christians who have failed to live up to its ideals (see the example of the 4th Crusade, that monnalisa cites, as one of the most stark examples), I have personally come to the conclusion that Christianity has been a positive force in the world on the balance. Many of the excesses of its adherents are corrected by an internal appeal to its ideals.

    I grant it, I am biased, I believe the Son of Mary (pbuh) was divinely inspired and taught the truth, though it may have been distorted through the ages. But, I actually shudder to think of a world that we may be living in had Christianity not had the world-wide influence that it did. I have no scientific basis for passing this judgement other than what my heart concludes based on all the history I have come across and the Christians of good character that I have met. Oh – and there’s this…
    “We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy…” 57:27

    May God grant us true understanding of what He expects of us.

    • Replies: @Art
  131. Talha says:
    @Che Guava

    Dear Che,

    Was this comment directed to me or Stonehands? Pardon me if I butted in – if I was not the intended recipient.


    • Replies: @Che Guava
  132. Talha says:

    Dear Seraphim,

    While there is little doubt that the coming of Islam (which condemns the use of images in worship) definitely provided the environment of the ideas to put a debate into motion, you are making some specific claims.

    violent application of the iconoclastic decree of Yazid II

    Please cite proof for this claim. Though there is little doubt that an edict was proclaimed (one which was beyond his purview in Islamic Law*, but when did that stop the Umayyads) at the behest of a court minister, here is how its application is described:
    “Neither, it seems, was it forced by any official Islamic policy against Christian representation…many churches that were assuredly still in use at the time were not affected and there is virtually no evidence for hostile destruction.”
    Byzantium in the Iconoclast Era

    Look, I am not perfect by any means nor is my knowledge complete, but I studied Byzantine History (including these episodes at UCLA) – you are going to have to cite credible sources.

    which called him Beser, describes him as a Christian Syrian who apostatized to mahomedanism, who fled to Constantinople where he befriended the Emperor and instilled in his equally unstable mind the idea of the destruction of the icons.

    It seems evidence (researched by the King’s College of London) points to him leaving Islam also and simply hooking up with Leo since he shared his already iconoclast views:
    “…shortly before 724 he abandoned the Islamic faith and returned to the Roman empire; there he was held in high honor by the emperor Leo III (Leo 3) partly because of his physical strength but also because he shared the emperor’s hostility towards sacred images…”

    He is likely the author of the letters of Leo to the calif

    Conjecture – please cite a source. The source I cited earlier is a solidly Orthodox site which lays the blame squarely at the feet of Leo. And even if this Beser helped him draft it, I have cited evidence that they were in cahoots as iconoclast Christians.

    certainly both for his writings against iconoclasm and against the heresy of the Ishmaelits

    Nothing certain about this, the writings on the defense of icons and the attendant turmoil (hand issue) began in the early 730’s. From the Umayyad’s perspective, the issue was wholly political; they did not want to lose their capital city to a Byzantine invasion. Blame is properly placed on them for too quickly and harshly passing judgement on a loyal citizen who had done nothing but carry out the responsibilities of his office dutifully. John had already left his post in Damascus and retired to a monastery when he published the work ‘Fountain of Knowledge’ (of which the ‘Heresies of the Ishmaelites’ is a chapter) in 743. How do we know he published it in 743? Because he dedicated it to his friend, Bishop Cosmas of Maiuma, who was appointed to that station in 743. This detail is provided in Writings (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 37).

    Honestly though, I believe I have to disengage at this point on this subject. This is far, far more down the rabbit hole than I had ever wanted to go – I simply wanted to counter the original idea that the Muslims hunted down and enslaved all the Orthodox Christian scholars like some ‘Sith against the Jedi’ notion. I have to manage an IT development team and four kids (and a cat) to raise so you win by pure attrition – congratulations. People can read our exchange and decide what appeals to their intellect.


    *Imam Mawardi (may God illuminate his grave) writes in Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah (Rules of Governance): “If the dhimmah people dispute amongst themselves concerning their religion and differ concerning their beliefs, no attempt is made to interfere or resolve their differences.”

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  133. Talha says:

    Dear NtD,

    I totally agree with that article, the crux of which is:
    “…the meat grinder of empire always eventually comes back to turn on its own inhabitants what it unleashed in foreign lands”

    For me, one of the most frightening warnings is:
    “Beware the supplication of the oppressed, even if he is an unbeliever, for there is no veil between it and God.” – reported in Musnad Ahmad

    And, of course, the great American statesman:
    “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” – Thomas Jefferson

    I couldn’t watch that video, the still image of the lifeless little girl was enough. I began ‘unplugging’ a few years back at the advice of my teachers. Desensitization to violence is real; if I watch that stuff. it affects my appetite and a host of other things.

    May God bring a resolution to those conflicts quickly.

  134. Art says:


    What a beautiful gracious comment recognizing Christian idealism as a valued human mindset. A mindset that has been a net philosophical positive for mankind.

    Religions connect people to God and they connect people to each other. Connecting to God is a deep personal faithful matter not open to easy discourse – whereas connecting to each other is a practical matter that is open to verifiable facts and discussion. Christian religious dogma is a matter of faith. Christian philosophical idealism is a practical productive cooperative way to live.

    Clearly princes, potentates, preachers, and priests have used the Christian religion for personal gain. It is the masses that use the philosophy of idealism to make their everyday lives cooperative, stable, and better.

    Again the ideals are these: have hope, support life, seek truth, forgive, extend grace, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Who can go wrong acting on those idealistic principles. The secret of their success is that none of those ideals get in the way of the future.

    When I see your name heading a comment, I know that it will be worth reading. That it will be gracious, kind, and informative. You are a most valued addition to the UR.

    Thanks — Art

  135. Seraphim says:

    My smooth talking “Mawardi”(?) friend, you think you are a master at spinning words. You are not one, really (blame it on UCLA training),

    “Conjecture – please cite a source”. Well, for God sake, I said clearly that IT IS conjecture, a hypothesis. That is what the word ‘likely’ means. I don’t need to cite any source other than myself. It may be true, hypothetically based on circumstantial evidence (which, BTW, you tend to obliquely confirm), providing that Beser 1 (you missed Beser 2) is the same with Tessarakontapechys, or may be disproved.
    I agree with you (although you did not spell it clearly) that we are in a sort of chronological “cloud”, so to speak, about the precise dates of St. John’s writings (the most likely date of Yazid’s decree being 721!). But, do you really think that in Ummayad times (no matter of your personal slight at “but when did that stop the Umayyads”), people could have “publish” at will things that had not the “imprimatur, nihil obstat” (disregard the anachronism) of the califs cum imams!
    Please notice that I advance the following as a hypothesis. IN MY OPINION IT IS LIKELY (I do stress that in order to prevent the imperative demand for “sources”) that “The Third treaty against the Iconoclasts” (which is very neutral), IS THE FIRST (and therefore could have been a response to Yazid’s decree). On the other hand, nothing really indicates that the “treatise” against the Ishmaelites was composed just in 743 (anyhow, should I remind you that exactly in 743, the persecutions of Christians, stopped precisely by the miracle of the “cut hand” for a while, resumed in earnest – when Walid cut the tongue of St. Peter of Damascus for “denouncing the errors of the Arabs and Manichaeans”- could it have been exactly after the dedication of Johns writings to St. Cosmas of Maiumas? )
    Now, we could not honestly expect that the wisdom imparted by the UCLA (believe me, I am aware of the levels to which learning in the US has sunk) would really even try to approach the basics of the problem (which the Greek-Byzantine sources emphatically indicate), the Jewish-Muslim collusion in the fight against “icons” (actually against Christianity, irrespective of the ‘pbuhs’ and salamis “shaloms” showered on the strawman that Mahomedans pretend to believe was Jesus Christ).
    You are indeed well advised to “disengage at this point on this subject”, because you are ‘being far, far more down the rabbit hole than (perhaps, you) ever wanted to go’. In other words, you realized that I can go much, much deeper on the path of debunking the islamic deception. You ‘cleverly’ disengaged yourself from any embarrassing questions about Christianity vs. Islam.
    So, you would be far better off to care for your cat, which I hope is a black one.

    • Replies: @Talha
  136. Talha says: • Website

    Dear Seraphim,

    I’ll take this a little further since it seems at a point of closure.

    I apologize for not mentioning some background on Imam Mawardi (may God raise his rank) and why I referenced him. He is a medieval Shafi’i scholar who, though he writes from the position of the Shafi’i school, he references the strongest known positions from the other three schools on any subject IF they contradict the Shafi’i position. Thus any position he states without a counter opinion generally states the consensus opinion within the Sunni Orthodoxy. The Shafi’i school tends to have the most restrictive (even if being the minority) opinion regarding the rights of non-Muslim covenanted citizens so when I cite it, it is referenced as the lowest bar. It saves me trouble in having to look up the respective Maliki and Hanafi opinions.

    Yes, it seems you are offering opinions and hypothesis so I can’t really say one way or another if you are off-base since there are doors open for a possibility of opinions.

    As far as the other items, I do believe we agree on three things:
    1) There was no wholesale slaughter, forced conversion or enslavement of Christian scholars – this was the original comment which prompted my response. The incidents in which the authorities did harm the scholars came out of specific instances and events. Even then, I’ve never come across any instances of enslavement or forced conversion – and it seems none of the incidents you point to bespeak of either.
    2) The Umayyad case against John was not as a result of his writing polemics against Islam, but rather assumptions on his involvement in a plot to help the Byzantines capture Damascus. We may not agree who exactly wrote the damning forged letter, but we both agree that his protestations at innocence should have believed and that he was wronged.
    3) Certain Christian scholars have been persecuted by the authorities – no doubt. You brought up instances of one or another being killed for trying to convert Muslims. While there is also no doubt as to the traditional ruling regarding preaching to Muslims in order to convert them out of Islam (in that it represents a breach of the dhimmah covenant), the rulers are prohibited from doing whatever they want (cutting tongues, limbs, etc.). I will quote from Imam Mawardi (may God have mercy on him) – from the ‘Ahkam’ directly: “If the dhimmis violate their covenant, it is not permitted to put them to death or to take their property as spoils or their women and children as captives as long as they do not fight. They must be expelled from the Muslim territories with a guarantee of safe passage until they reach a place of safety in the nearest adjoining region inhabited by the people of polytheism/disbelief.”

    The Hanafi school is more lenient (on the issue of blasphemy breaking the covenant) as evidenced by Imam Quduri (may God illuminate his grave) in his ‘Tajrid’ (‘The Dismantling’): “The people of dhimmah blaspheme against God by saying He has a son, and the Zoroastrians by saying He has an ‘opposite.’ These are clear realities, and these (sayings) do not break their covenant (of security). So, insult of the Prophet is the same. Because, it is just one type of disbelief, so it does not break the covenant, in the same way the other types (of disbelief do not). If they insult the Prophet in their churches, and in their transactions, it does not nullify their covenant.” (look on page 6266, rulings 30668 & 30669)

    Imam Quduri (ra) was an Iraqi medieval master of jurisprudence in the school whose authority is recognized East to West. So much so, that his magnum opus (al-Mukhtasar) is simply called ‘al-Kitab’ (‘The Book’).

    Of course, rulers follow the rules they want and were fairly equal opportunity when it comes to oppressing scholars. In the reign of the Abassid Caliph al-Mansur, both Imams Malik and Abu Hanifah (may God raise their ranks) – both top scholars and founders of their schools of jurisprudence – were imprisoned and flogged or tortured for not accepting the legitimacy of the pledge of allegiance to al-Mansur because it was forced (Malik) or not accepting the position of chief justice – in order to not be involved in judicial corruption (Abu Hanifah).

    As far as the other comments about Christianity vs. Islam. You may well be an excellent debater in the realm of theology and I may well be outclassed. However, I don’t debate theology for a couple of reasons; 1) out of respect for our gracious host Mr. Unz, this is not the correct forum for it and 2) I have been advised against debating by my teachers. There are few things that feed the lower animal self/ego and deaden the spirit than debating (on almost any subject with almost anyone). Maybe only pornography ranks up there in its brutally efficient devastation to any spiritual progress one may have been making. I can certainly answer any questions you have (to the best of my ability) as long as they are addressed in a civil manner – feel free to contact me via my Google website profile above.

    I will pray for you, please pray for me as well, as I am in need of your prayers.

    For the record, he is a Siberian – a most delightful and beautiful breed.

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @Seraphim
  137. iffen says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    a curiosity about science that embodies a willingness to examine all evidence with scientific discipline

    I am not sure I meet all of your strict requirements for commenting, but I do have a layman’s interest in science. I am pretty sure that greater thinkers than me have made a convincing case that science cannot interpret religion for us.

    Apples and oranges as they say.

    Anyway, I don’t much care for your tone. Religion is vital the many millions of people and has been for millennia. A case can be made that we would not have complex civilization without universalist type religions like Christianity. I highly value the religious experiences of my youth and the Christian fellowship of the little church that I attended and just because you cannot see the value of religion is not a “scientific” reason to think that there is no value.

    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith
  138. iffen says:


    I know that you don’t care much for my comments, that is okay, it doesn’t bother me, but this is a comment by the person with whom you are exchanging views.

    3) Also are you of the opinion that anything voiced by a muslim is invalid by virtue of their faith?


    I know that you are a learned person and are pursuing you religious studies, but you have to be able recognize irreconcilable differences.

    • Replies: @Talha
    , @NoseytheDuke
  139. Talha says:

    Dear iffen,

    Bro, I sincerely ask your pardon if I gave you that impression. I know our last exchange (was it on Israel?) was a little tense but it was never my intent to make you feel as if I didn’t value your words. In fact this comment of yours is very valuable – and I am in agreement with you – thanks for offering a hand to pull me out of the rabbit hole. As you can see, I was wrapping up and made the last comment to bring things to a close and offer an intellectual handshake before parting – let’s see how it is received.

    Your view on cosmology and mine may differ but I do appreciate how you ask people to question their assumptions (like in post 144). You also show a willingness to be open to new information if it is credibly sourced. Both are great traits. One may not like to be on the receiving end of such questioning, but that is just the nafs (animal self/ego) talking – it never likes to be corrected or second-guessed.

    May God preserve you and yours.

    • Replies: @iffen
  140. iffen says:

    Thank you, Talha.

    Martin Luther told these pious dipwads where to get off over 500 years ago.

    Jesus gave the same message to the similar Pharisees and Sadducees 2000 years ago.

    Maybe he will find a soul somewhere in his studies.

    I have put it crudely, wink, wink.

  141. @iffen

    I was the one that asked the question 3) above.

    Seraphim responded in the manner indicating a closed mind.

    The best part of The Unz Review is that it can serve to be a forum where minds can be opened, but only if the mind is so disposed.

    • Replies: @iffen
  142. Seraphim says:

    Again you put words in my mouth. I never said anything about “wholesale slaughter, forced conversion or enslavement of Christian scholars”.
    I can’t indeed see any reason to continue this kind of “discussion”.
    I would have like to know what happened to the properties of the dhimmis expelled for “breach of covenant”, if they were not confiscated?

    • Replies: @Talha
  143. Talha says:

    Dear Seraphim,

    Apologies if I gave the impression that I felt you had stated such. It is obvious from the comments that you made that you did not agree to the validity of that statement. I meant to reference the original comment, #92 (not by you) which precipitated my response in the first place. That person did indeed imply that there was a Muslim policy to hunt down and enslave or convert Christian scholars in order to steal their knowledge. “Simple”, as they put it.

    On the issue of properties – this is a very good question and has two parts to it; 1) what did happen and 2) what should happen according to Islamic Law.

    1) This was likely up to the mood of the rulers at that moment. If they are cutting off tongues, torturing people for not accepting positions as a corrupt judge, etc., I doubt they care what Islamic Law tells them about property rights of non-Muslims minorities.
    2) I cannot find an answer in the ‘Ahkam’ other than the imperative that their property is not confiscated, so I’ll stick to the school I know (Hanafi – which is and has been the school of the majority of Muslims and the one adopted by the Abassids and Ottomans) for details. Apart from certain limited restrictions like the transfer of weapons/armor acquired in Muslims territories (which would have to be sold first), one takes whatever he wants with him. Unmovable property should be disposed of before leaving. If it is not, then (once he crosses the border into non-Muslim territory) it is treated as if the person is legally dead; thus it is distributed to his heirs, used to pay off outstanding debts, etc. The reference for this is Kitab Siyar, by Imam Muhammad Shaybani (may God illuminate his grave) – the earliest book in the school (of which Imam Muhammad [ra] was a principle founder) with regards to political and international law. All subsequent books on the subject basically expound on the initial foundations laid down in this book. I’m feeling lazy, so excuse my lack of looking up the exact Maliki details on the matter.

    Again, may God preserve you and yours.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  144. iffen says:

    The best part of The Unz Review is that it can serve to be a forum where minds can be opened, but only if the mind is so disposed.

    Yes, people can change, but I have very little understanding of how it happens. I have made some 90’s and 180’s and sometimes I can’t even figure out within myself how it happened. We know that it happens all the time. Something happened to Saul on that Damascus road, how and what is a mystery.

  145. @iffen

    I am not sure I meet all of your strict requirements for commenting, but I do have a layman’s interest in science. I am pretty sure that greater thinkers than me have made a convincing case that science cannot interpret religion for us.

    That is just too precious for words.

    Anyway, I don’t much care for your tone.

    For the record, YOUR tone is condescending and snotty. Not only do I not care for your tone, your entire approach is supercilious and based in religious prejudice. So kiss my ass. How’s that for “tone”?

    A case can be made that we would not have complex civilization without universalist type religions like Christianity.

    Really? LOL. Let’s see you make the case. When you do (and you won’t), remember that citing examples does not make the case for exclusion of other possibilities.

    Best to take your religious pap where the suffering masses will believe it. Modern Man does not.

    • Replies: @iffen
  146. iffen says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    I try to limit my debate with people who hit heavily upon the caps key. I usually find that there is a great mismatch.

    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith
  147. @iffen

    I try to limit my debate with people who hit heavily upon the caps key. I usually find that there is a great mismatch.

    LOL. You’d best run to Grandma for your egg-sucking lesson, Junior.

    If you want to pump your religion, go right ahead. Just don’t try to bullshit me as to your purpose.

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @Talha
  148. iffen says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    The Birth of Religion

    We used to think agriculture gave rise to cities and later to writing, art, and religion. Now the world’s oldest temple suggests the urge to worship sparked civilization.

    By Charles C. Mann

    National Geographic May 2016

    Sciencey enough for you, recent, too.

    I am an atheist. Not that it will matter to you. Facts do not seem to be your stock-in-trade.

    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith
  149. Talha says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    Dear JJS,

    From my conversations with iffen, he has stated he is a materialist – so I think you are hitting off the mark. He used to be a Christian (perhaps you were too), but that is only partially relevant to his point. I believe he is making his statements by analyzing things from a historical perspective – not to push a religious agenda.

    I think he is alluding to the fact that many people had no problem reconciling their faith with their scientific endeavors – Sir Isaac Newton (though not your typical Christian by Anglican standards) had no problem penning a work of exegesis on a number of chapters of the Bible.


  150. @iffen

    Gosh, what happened to your refusal to discuss with CAP- KEY BARBARIANS?

    You are a phony. Bye now.

    • Replies: @iffen
  151. @Talha

    From my conversations with iffen, he has stated he is a materialist – so I think you are hitting off the mark.

    Off what mark? Who was talking materialism? Not me, not him.

    When making a claim, some trivial reference to fact is in good order. Basically, there was a loose assertion that religion created civilization. While there may be well-established fact that civilizations have, historically, contained religious elements …. errrr, how can I say this diplomatically? How about “post hoc is not propter hoc”? Capiche? I doubt that it rises to that level — more like correlation does not equal causation, nor does the existence of any component of a complex system imply that component is necessary for the system to exist.

  152. iffen says:


    I am sure that you have noticed that a certain segment of commenters will get around to questioning (some right away) one’s truthfulness, one’s sincerity, etc. They allude to ulterior motives and pushing agendas and they imply (or boldly state) that one is being deceitful and misleading. It overlays the same segment that insists that they have the “Truth” and we can’t see or understand it. They are the “chosen” (Ha) and they can see what we can’t. I don’t want to go too far into psyco-babble, but it appears to me that a lot of the people who think that they have a cod-lock on the “Truth,” project fear of deceit and dishonesty onto others. There is some sort of instability there within the ones who think that they have the “Truth” in their hands or locked away in a box and they have an irrational fear that someone is going to take it away or through some sort of deceit are trying to damage it.

  153. iffen says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    limit my debate

    Limit: a prescribed maximum or minimum amount, quantity, or number

    your refusal to discuss

    Refusal: an act of saying or showing that you will not do, give, or accept something

    usually find that there is a great mismatch

    Mismatch: An unsuitable match or a lack of correspondence.


  154. Seraphim says:

    Well, the question was not exactly about what happened with the properties, or whether “that there was a Muslim policy to hunt down and enslave or convert Christian scholars in order to steal their knowledge”, but that in the “tolerant” Muslim regime Christians were not allowed to express their faith (not even to display crosses in public), which was considered blasphemy: “The people of dhimmah blaspheme against God by saying He has a son, and the Zoroastrians by saying He has an ‘opposite”. Admittedly they were not necessarily killed or maimed. But is exile a proof of “tolerance”? And to Muslims that the unmovable properties were not confiscated but considered abandoned? Not to consider the fact that Muslims can prozelitize at will?
    Another quandary is: if Sharia Law is permitted in Christian countries, the ‘regulations’ regarding proselytizing Muslims apply as well? Would they expel the natives and force them to sell their properties to Muslims?

    • Replies: @Talha
  155. Talha says:

    Dear Seraphim,

    OK – I assumed it was a straight-forward question and not rhetorical.

    Christians were not allowed to express their faith (not even to display crosses in public), which was considered blasphemy

    Can you cite a source for this? Remember, ‘blasphemy’ is a theological pronouncement in this case, not a legal one – there is a difference. The Abassids invited Christian scholars to publicly debate Muslim scholars often. This is an utterly fascinating read on the subject ( Yes, there were definitely instances of what you mention about not publicly displaying crosses or ringing church bells. The ‘Ahkam’ lists it as one of the optional parts of the dhimmi contract (not an obligatory one like the one about not proselytizing or seducing Muslim women, etc.). Keep in mind, each community (village, city, etc.) that fell under sovereignty would have a contract drafted between it and the Muslims – each one was separate from another and that community was only obligated to keep to the details to which they were a party. And again, the Hanafi school did not care (you can see this on the same page of the text [Tajrid] that I referenced earlier). Some communities, like the Christian Bani Taghlib tribe were able to get a concession (from the Companions [ra]) that they would only give tax if it was called zakat and if it was levied at the rate of zakat as it is for a Muslim (they were Arabs and found that term jizya to be humiliating to have to give to other Arabs) – this became the basis of a consensus opinion among the schools that non-Muslims can ask that the tax be levied at the same rate as Muslims if they find the terms of the jizya to be humiliating. To this day, I can’t understand why more non-Muslim communities didn’t take that option, was it perhaps that they would have had to initiate that request like the Bani Taghlib and just din’t know? I don’t know.

    Also, there are different rules as pertains to what non-Muslims did within their own settlements (which is generally laissez faire as long as they paid the tax) versus in a mixed area or a city specifically founded and settled by Muslims as a ‘Muslim’ city (in which case the rules could be quite restrictive – like no churches at all [depending on the juristic school]). No way am I going to even attempt to outline these details here…fingers would fall off.

    But is exile a proof of “tolerance”?

    Depends on your definition of tolerance. Non-Muslims were allowed to preach among themselves, just not to Muslims. The only school who has a weird position (minority opinion) on this is the Shafi’i school (again, the most restrictive) which says a non-Muslim can only convert out of his original religion into Islam. I do love Imam Shafi’i (may God have mercy on him), but the other schools feel he got these things wrong in respect to non-Muslim rights – and frankly, I am glad his rulings were applied only in isolated instances and none of the caliphates took his school to be the dominant one – otherwise our history would look very different.

    And, I would say yes, given the environment of the time; granting someone safe-passage to enemy territory while confirming property rights when there has been a public breach of the social contract of which they were signatory to, is quite liberal (again, given that time period). Compared to secular nation-states, no contest – it doesn’t sound tolerant.

    And there are even instances of enforced tolerance. For instance, Imam Ibn Abidin (may God illuminate his grave) – who wrote the Hashiya of Radd ul-MuHtar, which is the current book a person has to master to become a Mufti in most of the Hanafi schools around the world – writes (in it) about a Muslim simply denigrating a non-Muslim:
    It is prohibited to backbite the Dhimmi, just like a Muslim because he has been contracted with the Dhimmah, he has obligatory rights like which we have so, as it is prohibited to backbite a Muslim, it is likewise prohibited to backbite him. Indeed they (our scholars) said: The oppression of the Dhimmi is worse.
    A Muslim is prevented from saying to the Dhimmi: “O Disbeliever!” or “O Enemy of God!” So as to cause harm or offense to him by use of these expressions and the Muslim deserves a punishment upon doing this.

    So Islamic history and law was truly a mixed bag; I just wish people would approach it with the nuanced reflection that it deserves.

    As for these days, I can tell you my feelings and the feelings of the scholars that I study under – none of us being PC, modernists or reformists. We should be as tolerant as possible and allow for the maximum freedoms as outlined by the Shariah that has been passed down to us. Protection of non-Muslims that live among Muslims is an imperative and any violation of the covenant is a major sin. Imam Baihaqi (may God have mercy on him) reports (in his Sunan al-Kubra) from the Prophet (pbuh) -“If anyone oppresses a dhimmi or burdens him with something he can not bear, I will argue against him on the Day of Judgment”. Non-Muslim people have been very good to us in their lands, we should reciprocate in kind as much as possible. Actually, even if we were to be oppressed in non-Muslim lands, we should advocate as my teachers have above for protection of non-Muslim rights in Muslim lands.

    considered abandoned

    The books never say ‘abandoned’. Property rights are affirmed (the state doesn’t swoop in and claim it), which is why it transfers to his legal heirs. Two things; 1) nobody says he can’t sell it before he moves and 2) he is exiled, his wife and children are welcome to stay (and women and children non-Muslims have zero tax liability – by consensus of all four schools – again, from the ‘Ahkam’).

    Muslims can prozelitize at will

    Correct, this is what sovereignty entailed – does it sound fair to modern sensibilities? No, not really, but this right was claimed on the battlefield through blood and steel. Again, non-Muslims could proselytize among themselves.

    Another quandary is: if Sharia Law is permitted in Christian countries, the ‘regulations’ regarding proselytizing Muslims apply as well? Would they expel the natives and force them to sell their properties to Muslims?

    I am assuming you are asking a hypothetical question in a situation like, say Denmark becomes a super-majority Muslim country, by population, correct? Then there are two aspects to this:
    1) What would be the case according to Sharia Law – I don’t know if you can appreciate this, but the complexities involved in that question are so vast that there are perhaps 10 human beings on the planet that have the requisite knowledge and intellect to be able to form a legitimate opinion on the matter – and they would have to do so in conjunction with people educated in the aspects of the Danish legal tradition in order to come up with a valid ruling. I can find you rulings for situations that actually did exist in medieval texts, but it may actually be a sin for me to forward an opinion on this matter given my lack of knowledge.
    2) What would be the case according to majoritarian democracy – they can do whatever they want. Even constitutions can be amended by super-majorities.


    • Replies: @Seraphim
  156. Seraphim says:

    @‘blasphemy’ is a theological pronouncement in this case, not a legal one

    I am afraid that in this case it is precisely a legal pronouncement (although there is no clear difference between “theology” and “law” in Islam).

    @Can you cite a source for this? (I am sure you know it).

    Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Quduri (d. 428 AH/1036 CE). Al-Tajrid, vol. 12, p. 6266
    أهل الذمة يسبون الله تعالى ويقولون له ولد ، والمجوس يقولون له ضِدٌ وهو أمر بَينِّ فلا ينقضون العهد بذلك ، فسب النبي مثله. ولأنه نوع كفر فلا ينقض بذلك العهد كسائر أنواعه ، لأنهم لو سبوا النبي في كنائسهم وبِيَعهم لم ينقضوا به العهد وما لا ينتقض العهد في كنائسهم لا ينتقض به غيرها كضرب الناقوس وإظهار الخنازير
    “The people of dhimma blaspheme against Allah by saying He has a son, and the Zoroastrians by saying He has an “opposite.” These are clear realities, and these (sayings) do not break their covenant (of security). So, insult of the Prophet is the same. Because, it is just one type of disbelief, so it does not break the covenant, in the same way the other types (of disbelief do not).
    If they insult the Prophet in their churches, and in their transactions, it does not nullify their covenant. And what does not break their covenant in their churches, doesn’t break it in other ways, such as in them ringing bells, or displaying pigs.”

    The list of “blasphemies” grew steadily (along with the hardening of intolerance) since the Pact of Umar (leaving the door open to abuses, since it was left at the ruler’s discretion to execute him if it was deemed politically expedient, instead of just disciplining him). “When Hanafi jurists say that a non-Muslim blasphemer is not to be killed they only mean it in the sense of obligation i.e. they say it is not obligatory to kill him/her; they do not say it is impermissible to kill such people. According to popular Hanafi opinion blasphemy, like homicide and rape does not break the covenant of protection. In any case, the covenant is not an impediment for capital punishment. Moreover, the Hanafi scholars observe that if the covenant of protection has relevant stipulations blasphemy can in fact nullify the covenant.” (@ The case of Salman Rushdie comes to mind.

    @The Abassids invited Christian scholars to publicly debate Muslim scholars often.

    Was it really so or the other way round? They were invited to listen to “Refutations of the Three Christian denominations”, to show them the “internal contradictions and irrationality” of their beliefs in contradiction with the Quran. In fact Islamic apologetics (like all contemporary Christian-Islamic “debates”), mostly directed at a Muslim audience which needs to be convinced that the opponents are gullible people who cannot distinguish fact from fiction and hold “irrational, contradictory” beliefs, maybe close to “blasphemy”. That may account for the Christological subterfuges of a Abu-raitah, who actually debated with a Chalcedonian Bishop. He was an adept of monophysitic heresy, whose tenets were somewhat closer to islamic interpretation. Monophysites were rabidly anti-byzantine and they facilitated the muslim conquest. But we don’t talk theology, do we? Although it is plain history.

    As to how the Sharia Law would be implemented in a hypothetical dhimmi Europe, I prefer not to think.

    • Replies: @Talha
  157. Talha says:

    Dear Seraphim,

    Thanks for that link actually; that is very helpful and that does put to rest certain confusions I had. I already knew the popular opinion in the Hanafi school on the matter regarding blasphemy not breaking the covenant, but I did not know that even murder or rape does not technically break the covenant – that is actually deep in that the covenant for the school is adherence to that which is strictly stipulated, not inferred (which makes total sense based on the principles of jurisprudence I have studied thus far). It seems though that criminal offences are then dealt with on the basis of their own merit (and the covenant [of protection] cannot simply be alluded to in order to escape punishment) – like rape and murder (which seems obvious to most). This then allows a case of blasphemy to be dealt with on its own merit (not simply due to mere technical violation), for instance if it is so offensive that it sparks widespread disruption of social order versus if it is merely expression of one’s theological position in one’s house of worship or the ringing of bells. The intellectual mastery and the grasp of practical realities of the Hanafi school never ceases to amaze me. Don’t know what the Rushdie affair has to do with all this, but hey – you are free to draw the analogies that you want.

    They were invited to listen to “Refutations of the Three Christian denominations”, to show them the “internal contradictions and irrationality” of their beliefs in contradiction with the Quran.

    Sure, I’m almost certain that was the intent of many of those who initiated such debates – that makes logical sense. No side goes into a debate with the idea of losing – they go in there with the idea of crushing one’s opponents ideas. Which is why my teachers have advised against it. There are exceptions to the rule; people who enter a debate for the sole purpose of arriving at the truth without any impediment of ego. Imam Shafi’i (may God raise his rank) stated, “Whenever I face an opponent in debate I silently supplicate, ‘O Lord, help him so that truth may manifest itself in his heart and on his tongue. If it be that the truth is on my side, may he follow me; and if the truth be on his side, may I follow him.’”. If only we could all achieve such a state.

    Again, I believe I have to bow out at this point. We are treading close to the edge of theological debate where I don’t go.

    Again, thanks for that helpful link.


  158. Che Guava says:

    Pax to you, i don’t remember.

    • Replies: @Talha
  159. Talha says:
    @Che Guava

    No problem – it seemed like you were very sleepy at the time. I’ll be brief…

    As far as the Saudis destroying the ancient sites of the Prophet’s life – it is an utter tragedy. They don’t have a respect for the sacred or tradition. These have lasted for centuries and it is a world heritage that is lost. Also, you not being able to enter the sacred sites is also a Saudi rule. The soundest opinion in the Hanafi school (when the Ottomans were in charge) is that non-Muslims can enter the sacred precincts and any and all mosques (including the ones in Madinah and Mecca) to visit. There is a restriction that they cannot perform the Hajj rites.

    I am very aware of the destruction, but scholars of our tradition are noting where these sites have been located so that at least we can visit the areas to walk in his blessed footsteps.

    What is happening in Mecca, we believe, has been prophesied – and honestly, it is a bit scary. There is a hadith that is transmitted by Imam Suyuti (may God elevate his rank) that states:
    “When you see Mecca, its mountain with holes (pierced through them), and its buildings reach its mountain tops, then as-Sa’ah (the Hour) has already cast its shadow.”

    For centuries, that was interpreted as metaphorical allusion to the Judgement Day, but it may be that it is both metaphorical and quite literal – as Shaykh Hamza Yusuf explains (excuse the background music – I don’t like it when they crowd out the audio with that stuff):

    His mention of the destitute animal herders that compete with each other in building tall buildings (like what has been happening by the Gulf Arabs) is referenced in the famous Hadith of Gabriel (as):

    Anyway, may God preserve you and yours with honor.

  160. hbm says:

    original Christianity of the early Church

    What’s that?

  161. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The teaching of the cross is far more sophisticated than the vast majority of Christians envision.

    Num 21:5-9
    And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. (Num 21:8-9 KJV)

    There is a Hebrew word equivalent of the word ‘cross’ and its English, Greek and Aramaic equivalents.

    The word Christian itself came late in the biblical progression of the gospel, and some see it as meaning little Christ, as a type of diminutive, applied to the believers in Christ, and it meant something like goody goody. In other words, in the violent play and counterplay of aggression, violence and power in the ancient and Roman world, real world Christians often simply seemed too good to be true.

    In the beginning they were called disciples of Jesus (in Aramaic), but the appellation, Christian, stuck. And its derivatives, such as Christianity, became the norm as well. There are obvious disadvantages of moving from a learner or discipleship status, to the status of a made man, nominally Christ/Messiah, or ‘Christian’.

    But teaching had to go on, so the gospel could spread, like sower and seed.

    Inaccuracies crept in. The Semitic and Hebrew roots became obscure, and the disciples assumed almost irresistable know-it-all status in their particular gentile denominations, as the complex Hebrew language texts dissolved in the morass of Gentile ignorance and translations. The foolishness of it all, and the foolishness of the people, became all too historically obvious. Deut. 32:6, 21; Ps. 74:18; Jer. 4:22; 5:21; Rom. 10:19

    But there was a lot of sense interspersed with the nonsense, even if the Hebrew thread on the cross and discipleship was lost. For all the Hebrew cultural and doctrinal precision that was lost, as the gospel became ‘gentilized’, there were significant gains, even by what became the diluted truth of the gospel.

    Galatians is a great example of the blowback from the Judaizers on Paul and the Gentile converts. Circumcision was pushed as mandatory by the Judaizers. Paul says some remarkable things re the Judaizers, such as ‘let them be accursed’ if they did not bring his gospel, as it says in one English translation. Gal 1:8-9

    But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Gal 1:8-9 KJV)

    So even in the 1st century, what kind of gospel or good news is that? Is ‘cursed’ a mistaken English translation of a Greek translation of a Hebrew concept? The Greek word is anathema, and the Hebrew word is haram, like the Arabic word, sometimes translated in English as ‘forbidden’.

    Following is a list of words where the Greek word anathema is used in the LXX and the Chrisitan Greek scriptures and the parallel word in Hebrew, haram or cherem, may also be discovered by Biblical search engines.
    Lev. 27:28; Num. 21:3; Deut. 7:26; 13:16, 18; 20:17; Jos. 6:17-18; 7:1, 11-13; 22:20; Jdg. 1:17; 1 Chr. 2:7; Jdt. 16:19; 2 Ma. 2:13; 9:16; Zech. 14:11; Acts 23:14; Rom. 9:3; 1 Co. 12:3; 16:22; Gal. 1:8-9

    But that’s just it. That’s the problem that Christian Hebrew expositors had from the beginning, and they had no access to search engines, nor would many of the Christian ‘disciples’ be inclined towards such rigorous study of Hebrew language and culture, so the gradual corruption of the simplicity of the gospel was inevitable and designed. As Paul said many times, the salvation of the Jews would be the salvation of the world, because they had the background to understand the gospel, and most of the Gentile ‘disciples’ soon reached their limits of scholarship and resources.

    The gospel was simple, and simplified, to love.
    love neighbour
    Lev. 19:18; Zech. 8:17; Matt. 5:43; 19:19; 22:39; Mk. 12:31, 33; Lk. 10:27; Rom. 13:9-10; Gal. 5:14; Jas. 2:8

    Or even simpler, God is love.
    (1 John 4:8 KJV) He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
    (1 John 4:16 KJV) And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

    But the thorny parts, about ‘cursing’, anathema and cherem? The rigorous attacks by Judaizers or what they now call anti-missionaries, are laden with bite and poison. The natural impulse is always to bite back, and devour.

    For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. (Gal 5:14-15 KJV)

    What is evident is that Christians/disciples ought not to be anathematizing, especially what is not legally theirs, but God’s. in general, because that is a form of judgment in itself, an as we judge, and with what measure we meet, it will be meted out to us again.

    Anathematizing or devoting people and goods to God was conceived as fairly normal in ancient Israel, as per the OT. In some cases it was a good and honorable state for the devoted person or object, so it was not always bad, and God was certainly good. It was personal choice, so if we are anathematized by critics of Christianity, we have Christ as the most anathematized of all, to look at, ( like Moses raised the serpent on the pole John 3:13-15) and it will take the bite out of our wounds, if it is really not mostly imaginary. And we must try to best remain on track on the way of Jesus Christ, which is love, no matter how badly bitten we may esteem ourselves to have been.

    To be anathematized by God is far more critical than to be anathematized, or made cherem (haram) by men. So love will seek their redemption, if possible.

    The old saying is that bark is worse than bite, and so it is with ourselves, bark and bite, but if they are not ours, it’s often best to steer clear, and give a wide berth, if they are truly dangerous. They may be devoted guards of their own God, anathematized and cherem already.

  162. Rehmat says:

    Of course you will keep waiting for answers that could support your Israeli Hasbara filth – because you’re trained to be BLIND to other “answers”.

    Keep living in your Zionist self-denial in order to keep your easy job.

    In a 2010 study conducted by Professor Daniel Bar-Tal (Tel Aviv University) found out that an average Israeli prefer to live in ‘self-denial’ as he/she is not interested to know the facts about the Israel-Palestine conflict. They’re brainwashed with Zionist narrative of the conflict and hatred toward Arabs and Muslims from an early age. The Zionist rabbis are known for using Talmudic texts to create hatred toward Arabs, Blacks and Christians.

    In 2009, Chabbad-Lubavitch Rabbi Manis Friedman responded to a question “How Jews should treat their Arab neighbors?”, in the Moment magazine for its “Ask the Rabbi” feature, said: “The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way. Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle). I don’t believe in western morality. Living by Torah values will make us a light unto the nations who suffer defeat because of a disastrous morality of human invention…….”

  163. nobody101 says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    Oh it all makes perfect sense to me. The ‘negative’ story reminds me of the icon brought from a church in the Byzantine world in a boat which was shipwrecked off an island in Greece but the icon floated into the bay and was recovered, and above in the eyrie against the mountain’s protective wall they built the church huddling close to it and as far as I know keep it there still . That is a true and old tale of preservation of culture. But I fear these days, where millenialism would appear to be stalking the world again, mediated by tales of one tribe versus another. The increase in racism everywhere, anti-religon, anti-anything, all the hate crimes in the world multiplying daily, and not a soul out there able to make it “STOP”. So many negatives, so many crises of confidence ready to be exploited. Are you a good man, Saker? That’s what I’d like to really know. There are so many phoneys about. With a callous and uncaring regard for the sanctity of LIFE.

  164. nobody101 says:

    What happened to us all? Total Recall?

  165. @nobody101

    Oh it all makes perfect sense to me.

    Oh, I can assure you I understand completely that it “makes perfect sense to [you]”.

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